Santa Maria Celebrates its Cultural Diversity on Harmony Day

Harmony Day is a day of awareness, where we celebrate the diversity we have in Australia. On Wednesday the school was covered in orange streamers and balloons and the spirit of belonging was in the air. Harmony Day is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background.  Orange hearts were painted on people’s hands and staff wore orange ribbons to symbolise the message of the day. The colour orange has been chosen to represent Harmony Day, as traditionally orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations.

During the weeks leading up to Harmony Day, we conducted a survey of the students and staff and everyone was asked to write down their cultural background on a slip of paper. This data was collected and tallied and displayed on the day. A world map, had a pin in every country that was identified as a place of cultural background for someone at the College. Over 70 countries had a pin on them and really showed the diversity we have amongst our students and staff. The slips of paper were then collaged to make a sign or made into banners to display around the school showcasing all the different responses.

On the day there were many activities which included a scavenger hunt, colouring in, collecting flag stickers and a bookmark, having an orange heart painted on your hand, or buying a chai banana smoothie from the canteen. At lunchtime there was an amazing show by a belly dancer who even did some sword balancing!

During the week many learning areas participated in the celebrations, including a quiz in the language classes, a banner decorating competition for the Years 5 and 6s in Art, baking biscotti in Year 10 food classes and a photo competition for Years 9 and 10 through media. Many other departments also ran activities, and this really brought the message of Harmony Day into the classroom and into the minds of all students.

The formal message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’ but when a junior girl was asked what the message of Harmony Day was she said, “That we come from different countries and that is the beauty of our world.”  This beautiful response proves that Harmony Week was a great success and I would like to thank every staff member and student who helped organise the day. As a day of awareness, I really hope every student now has a deeper understanding and appreciation of all cultures and that this day continues to influence everyone in their daily life.

Eva Quattrini, Cultural Captain

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