Lebanese drums, Ecuadorian wall hangings, Tongan woven baskets and a Churro machine were some of the items that signaled and appreciation of the more than 50 cultural backgrounds that make up the community at St Luke’s Catholic Primary Revesby.
The school celebrated Harmony Day with cultural activities, a prayer assembly and art competition. Students drew pictures to illustrate harmony and belonging. The winners were announced on Monday 9 April.
On Harmony Day, parents donated artefacts from their cultural backgrounds. Each class did a ‘Harmony walk’ through the hall while a slide presentation ran with photos taken last year by students to represent aspects of their cultures.
Harmony Day highlights all the special features and people in our school community.
St Luke’s EALD [English as an Additional Language or Dialect] teacher Susan Gebran said students who brought the artefacts to school explained them to their peers – an activity designed to raise awareness and promote harmony.
“We look around at our school community and we have so many children from so many different cultural backgrounds,” she said.
“There are also so many children who have diverse learning needs, who are talented in different things. We have a duty of care to try to foster our future citizens to live in harmony – with the planet and with each other.”
Music from Ireland, Vietnam, Lebanon and Australia’s aboriginal community was played at bell times in the same week as Harmony Day.
At the prayer assembly, students said the Lord’s Prayer in Arabic and a Hail Mary in Urdu.
Principal Catherine Coman said the event and activities brought the community together.
“You could see the parents, students and staff so excited to hear a song that they connected with,” she said.
“Harmony Day highlights all the special features and people in our school community and the way we can respect each other and enjoy that diversity.”
Monica Zariseh, in Year 2, and Caterina Schofield, in Year 6, both wore the Ukraine’s national costume for the Harmony walk.
Caterina said she enjoyed learning about different cultures – including her friends’ Macedonian, Maltese, and Lebanese heritage – as well as explaining her own.
“My grandmother came from the Ukraine,” she said. “She had to leave because of the war and she survived on sunflower seeds. During Easter we bring out the Ukranian eggs, which are painted. We also have a traditional dress from the Ukraine.
“I thought it was important to share different cultures on Harmony Day because at St Luke’s we are in Australia but we all have different cultures. It was really special to see all the different cultures.”
Monica won the Kindergarten to Year 2 category of the art competition with an artwork that represented inclusion.
“It was a painting of the planet,” Monica said. “There was a tree and a love heart for the roots and on the leaves there were different countries flags.”
Larissa Isbell was the Years 3 to 6 winner, and Renee Longinidis received a highly commended.