Parkes Public School was a sea of orange last Tuesday as the school celebrated Harmony Day for the first time. As orange is the colour for Harmony Day, students were allowed to attend school dressed in the colour. Parents were invited to attend an assembly to celebrate the occasion, and join their children for a picnic lunch on the playground afterwards. The assembly went multilingual when every class learned a greeting in a different language to recite to the rest of the school and Year 2 students read out stories of children who had migrated to Australia under difficult circumstances.
Leanne Breaden, school principal, said when she first started teaching in the Western Region it was unheard of to have children from a diverse range of cultures. “Now we embrace and enjoy the variety of at least 15 different cultural backgrounds of our students.” Students at the school come from Thailand, South Africa, Philippines, Indonesia, Namibia, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, as well as Aboriginal children. As part of the day’s activities, students wrote their names and heritage on an orange wall on the school ground.