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Everyone belongs: Happy Harmony Day!

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This week, Wenona was a riot of colourful national costumes, as we celebrated the rich diversity of our community for Harmony Day.

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On Tuesday, Junior School students dressed in their national costumes to celebrate the many different backgrounds, cultures, languages and traditions we share in Woodstock and Hooke House.

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Students brought in food and toiletries for the Asylum Seekers Centre, which Year 6 students will help to deliver on Friday morning, along with Ms Seale, Wenona’s Director of Community and Service Learning (K-12).

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On Tuesday afternoon, Year 6 led a Harmony-themed Junior School Assembly attended by Mr Staker, Ms Oakley and their parents. It was a wonderful display of the inclusiveness, respect and friendship they actively promote across the School.

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Through an entertaining series of skits, songs and videos, Year 6 brought to life issues such as bullying, the unity of Asian countries on the world stage, and how Year 6 camp served as an opportunity to collaborate and celebrate their friendships.

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To showcase the Junior School’s recent National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence – a day when students created raps, made posters and other artwork – the Year 6 students dressed up as super heroes and acted out ways we can use our super powers to battle the evil forces of bullying.

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Another clever skit brought Asean to life, helping younger students to understand how and why a group of less powerful Asian nations got together to help each other be strong against more powerful countries – a potent metaphor for how we can all be stronger together.

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A wonderful video of Year 6 camp reinforced the values of friendship and unity across the year group.

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But possibly the most powerful moment of the Assembly, was when the Year 6 cohort sang the Harmony Day song, Everyone. It was a fantastic effort by the Year 6 cohort and their teachers, and really reinforced what Harmony Day is all about.

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In the Principal’s Assembly this week, Paige (Year 12) gave a powerful speech on behalf of Wenona’s Amnesty International Club, which focusing on the experience of refugees.

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“This is particularly important after the racist massacre which occurred last Friday in the mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and our hearts go out to the Muslim community and all those affected,” she said. “Today I ask you to try that little bit harder to ensure everyone around you is included, whether it be talking to someone new or offering a helping hand when needed. We have chosen to focus on the impact and diversity that refugees offer our community. Humanitarian arrivals comprise of approximately 10 percent of all immigrants to Australia every year, bringing their diverse cultures which offer us knowledge, skills, and some delicious food. It is through the inclusive nature of our communities that we can truly access the gifts refugees have to offer. And so today, we seek to further provide inclusiveness to refugees and celebrate the diversity they provide.”

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Guest speaker, Ms Kerri Mills from Sydney’s Asylum Seeker Centre, told the Assembly about the important work it does in offering support to the men, women and children seeking asylum here from countries like Pakistan, Myanmar, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ms Mills said it was an enormous privilege to be involved at the Centre as it had enabled her to get to know and support people from all over the world. Sitting at a table with others, sharing food, stories and advice, is a simple way to bring people together. As she told the Assembly, everyone has the right to be free, live in peace and lead a harmonious life.

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At recess, the Amnesty International Group made paper chains to symbolise unity. And yesterday on Harmony Day itself, staff wore orange, a simple way of reinforcing the message that everyone belongs at Wenona.

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Happy Harmony Day everyone!

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