Beaumont girls’ school celebrates 10 years of promoting diversity
2015-12-15 12:47:45 -

By Margot Garnier


Diversity was in the spotlight during the 10th annual Cultural Week at Our Lady of Mercy College in north Dublin from 23-27 November last. 


Pupils throughout the school embraced the student body’s many different cultures by way of activities during the week, leading up to a special event with speeches and ‘spirit dances’ on Friday.


“On Monday, during lunch break, we had an international quiz, on Tuesday we did a drum session and on Thursday we watched foreign movies,” said Chloe Auguste (17), head girl at the Beaumont girls’ secondary who spoke at the end of the week on the importance of embracing different cultures.


Culture Week at Our Lady of Mercy is the work of Nigerian-Irish teacher Meg Offiah, who started the initiative a decade ago as a way for the school’s international students – nearly a quarter identify with a non-white-Irish ethnicity – to showcase their national dress, dances and food.


Examples of that this year included Natasha Mbatha’s traditional South African dress and dance steps, and Lisa Cordos – Irish born but of Romanian extraction – who expressed her culture through dance “as a way to keep continuing the tradition of our countries”.


Describing the week as a “great, unique initiative,” Offiah said she was grateful for the support she has received from both the principal, teachers and students in making it work. 


Offiah added that the event has exposed thousands of participants of the years to other cultures and different ways of doing things, as well as having “brought friendship and togetherness” in the school.


“By creating a space for all students to work together to appreciate each other’s tradition,” the school – headed by principal Rosemary Lynch – believes it is encouraging its pupils in “valuing how we are different, and we are enhancing personal development and the appreciation and tolerance of each other.”


It’s a diversity that was welcomed by Prof Daire Keogh, president of St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, in his speech to pupils at the end of the week. 


“Diversity is not just there in your school, you are also celebrating it,” he said. “Diversity is not only among the students but also among the teaching staff.


“In St Patrick’s College, we don’t have a good mix of teachers from different nationalities, religion and skin colour but we are encouraging diversity, as teaching staff should represent the diversity of their class.”

TAGS : Cultural Week Diversity Our Lady of Mercy
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