Richard Lynch pictured with students at Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2017 .
Thomond Community College Multicultural Day 2017 was held Friday, March 31.
The special guest at the event was David Stanton T.D., Minister of State, Department of Justice, with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration. There was plenty of colourful photo opportunities available with participating students in national costume and I was honoured to be the Master of Ceremonies again for the fifth consecutive year. Previously the event was held in the Salesians School before it closed last year and every year the event is organised by an amazing lady, teacher Siobhan Conway.
This was a hugely worthwhile, inclusive event, giving a unique opportunity to each of the International students to showcase their home nation. To see the pride of students in their native traditions and language is just wonderful. So many students can truly find a voice through this event and all in attendance, students, staff, parents and guests, learned so much – it truly is an education for all. The day created a real opportunity to celebrate both diversity and integration.
This year, students from over 16 different countries showcased their cultures to the entire school community. These include Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Bangladesh, Burma, Lithuania, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa and Syria to name just a few! Each country had a visual display on all that makes their individual cultures unique and interesting. Many of the students also wore traditional costume for the day. Delicious food, prepared and cooked by the students and their families, further reflected the intercultural theme. An afternoon of international music and dance (featuring members of the Rusangano Family as part of Music Generation), attended by the whole school, brought the celebrations to an end.
Being close to Seachtain na Gaeilge and St. Patrick’s Day, today (the final day of March) was seen as an appropriate time to give a well-deserved forum to the citizens of the new Ireland, and a real opportunity to share heritage. It is a unique event across the schools of the Limerick-Clare E.T.B., and indeed further afield, attracting praise from Limerick migrant rights organisation Doras Luimni over the years. This initiative was running for almost 10 years in Salesian Secondary School and was called Salesians Multicultural Day – Integration through Education. Following amalgamation and the establishment of Thomond Community College in September 2016 there was no hesitation in continuing with an event of such enormous popularity and previous success.
Students from local National Schools also attended on the day, as did the Mayor of Limerick City along with politicians representing all parties. At a time when it was never more important to demonstrate leadership in integration it really is a worthwhile initiative.
To see the event in previous years, click here.