Students of Abbey Community College in Ferrybank last week discovered a new side of the school community – a living, vibrant multitude of cultures brought to the surface by efforts of the students and their teachers Claire Bolger, Bernadette Hayden and Sinéad Connery.
Presented by the school council, the school took a day out to shine a spotlight on the diversity spread throughout the Abbey community, and more importantly, to relish and celebrate it.
Demonstrations of traditional dance from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Ireland kicked off the day, with every student having the opportunity to circle the hall afterwards, tasting the cultural dishes, trying their hand at writing Chinese characters, or having their hair deftly braided in the Nigerian stand. Thirty-eight countries are contained within the school community, and every one was represented.
Looking around, the array of colours from each national costume stood out – a gold-threaded wedding dress from Thailand, an elegant cheongsam from China, the glittering Bangladeshi tikli headpieces, sarees, and lehengas. Perhaps what was the best to see was how many students joined in, friends of every minority helping out at the stands, adorned in the national clothing.
TDs Micheál Martin and Bobby Aylward, and Councillor Ger Frisby all attended to show their support for the initiative, with Deputy Martin speaking about the importance of being an individual, of cultivating self-esteem and self-confidence.
Abbey Community College hopes to continue this event and aspire to make it a tradition of their own.