Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion
Our recent whole school assembly was a wonderful celebration of diversity and tied in perfectly with our recently launched Mental Health Strategy. Action 2 of this strategy is to develop a sense of community which values diversity, belonging and connection and the girls certainly helped contribute to achieving this.
“Inclusion is about creating an environment where all people’s inherent worth and dignity are embraced. Inclusivity is a common goal which we can all strive for. This universal change can only be achieved when individual effort is made. Inclusion starts with ‘I’.” (Isi Ogwu)
“We should not be concerned with the appearance of others or the stereotypes they may be associated with. Instead we should be open to learning and readjusting our perceptions. We should be concerned with how we make others feel. We should build relationships and make connections. A community who is willing to learn, paired with different perspectives, experiences, values and beliefs of those within that community results in people feeling appreciated and valued.” (Stephanie Tory)
The above quotes were shared at our recent College Assembly celebrating diversity. Our Year 12 leaders spoke with passion and courage about the need for all students to understand that each individual is unique. They recognised the need to value individual differences and that every individual has a responsibility to be inclusive.
Highlights from the Assembly:
Celebrating Cultural Diversity
- Welcome to country by Aboriginal Elder, Shaun Nannup who spoke about opening our hearts to understand others, particularly indigenous people.
- The prayer was spoken in many different languages by staff (Greek, Mandarin, Gaelic, Portuguese, Dutch, Afrikaans, French and Italian)
- Year 11 girls spoke about their life-changing Punmu Immersion Experience and the relationships they established with the people of this remote indigenous community
- The magical voices and dance moves of the children from St Gerard’s Primary School, which has students from 35 different countries. The children dressed in colourful national costumes and proudly sang and danced for us in very moving performances.
Celebrating Physical Abilities
Brant Garvey, a successful athlete and Paralympian, shared with students a very important message. He suggested for all of us to be more accepting of diversity and people with disabilities. He believes we need to see the individual’s abilities rather than their disabilities.
Celebrating all Abilities
Our Academic Captain shared, “Learning anything new can be challenging. Whether it’s persuasive writing, music theory or ionic bonding. Everyone here is on a unique study track. We all have diverse academic strengths that are highlighted in the ATAR, ACCESS and REACH programs.
“We need to value the contribution of all students – and celebrate their achievements and breakthroughs in whichever pathway brings out their best.” (Isi Ogwu)
For some students, their greatest abilities are in the areas of service, leadership, sport, music, drama, public speaking or art. Each of these, help create diversity and strength within our community.
As a College, we need to continue to work together to ensure all members of our community feel:
- respected for who they are,
- connected to others, and
- valued for their individual contributions.
“It only takes one. One commitment to care. One commitment to act. The impact of the small day to day efforts to be compassionate and merciful shouldn’t be underestimated as these can become habits that change learned behaviours. Inclusion starts with ‘I’.” (Emma Robinson- Head Girl)