SCHOOLS:

Laois school celebrates Portlaoise's rich cultural mix

Stan Henderson

Reporter:

Stan Henderson

Junior-cycle students from many different cultural backgrounds celebrated a recent intercultural morning at Portlaoise College.

The secondary school has students from many countries, reflecting Portlaoise's diverse community.

The colourful event on Tuesday September 10 had 18 countries represented including Syria, France, Nigeria, Poland, Italy and Australia.

Dozens of students dressed in their respective cultural clothing. and proudly displayed information on their cultural backgrounds to fellow students and parents alike.

Each group had samples of their traditional foods for everyone to try and nobody was shy about asking the students questions about their heritage. The students were full of information for each other with no shortage of answers.

The event was organised by teachers Patrick Hamm and Sean O’Neill along with deputy principal Keith McClearn.

“There is a mixture of first, second and third year students taking part in the intercultural event. This gives our students a chance to show the diversity here at Portlaoise College. It’s a great opportunity for them to showcase and share their cultural backgrounds,” Mr Hamm said.

Mr O’Neill said it helped to form an understanding of cultures.

“This is a great experience which gives the kids a great respect and understanding about their fellow students. For example,
why they dress in certain ways and eat certain things. People don’t fully understand each other’s countries and backgrounds. They might associate a country with a famous person or a particular religion but they don’t get to see the full picture,” he said.

“It’s great to see such brilliant teamwork and participation from the junior classes who are proudly showcasing and
celebrating their cultures,” Mr McClearn added.

The event went on for a couple of hours as students from different classes including the senior-cycle each got a chance to go and visit the different stalls, taste the foods and share information about each other’s cultural backgrounds.

Scroll through the gallery of photos.