Excitement and positive energy filled the cafeteria at St. Jean de Brébeuf Catholic Secondary School on Diversity Day organized by the Health Action Team (HAT) and SJB One. Participants were greeted by multi-cultural music and decorations from around the world.
“I really enjoyed Diversity Day,” said student Hermione Pollard. “There were lots of interesting interactive activities such as doing origami, using chopsticks, playing an African game, trying hula hoops, eating some cultural food samples and sharing written messages about our own cultures. I think it was a worthwhile experience.”
It was a sentiment shared by student Mary Butrus. “We had fun and could freely express our ideas. I knew our school was diverse, but seeing the ‘Hello’ banner signed by students in different languages, and the world map filled with dots where we identified our cultural heritage really demonstrated that students at our school come from all over the world.”
The 5 Ways to Mental Well-being are actions that anyone can take that, when done regularly, support positive mental well-being. HAT and SJB One students worked hard on developing cultural activities that highlight messages linking with strategies promoting mental well-being and the importance of connecting with others, being active, taking notice, giving back and to keep learning.
“Diversity Day provided an opportunity for students to come together and connect in order to share some of their common experiences while learning and appreciating each other’s cultures. This enhances mental well-being and promotes belonging for everyone,” said Public Health Nurse, Diane Lau.
“We are fortunate to belong to a school environment with students from many different cultures and backgrounds. By embracing and celebrating this diversity, we are creating an environment where students can feel accepted and valued so that they want to come to school to learn,” said HAT teacher advisor, Adele Rogano.
Added Student Success Teacher, Cecilia Carducci: “Our goal was to increase awareness around our wonderfully diverse population. We celebrated our differences while realizing we are all one. Our activities inspired all of us to step outside of our comfort zones and to try learning about different cultures. The fun today was truly in the learning!”
“Creating a positive, safe, inclusive school environment is a priority at SJB. There are numerous events throughout Catholic Education week and Mental Health week that the whole SJB community contribute to and participate in, while supporting each other spiritually, physically, and mentally. The school staff and students truly bring to life the motto Anima, Mens, Corpus,” noted Vice-Principal Robert Lombardi.
Student Asil Samhat best summarized the event: “Diversity Day was so exciting to plan and experience as we witnessed different cultures around our school come together in union and harmony. It was really a beautiful sight. This experience will forever remain in my heart and soul for years to come. At SJB, we all truly belong!”