Every year in April, THS would dedicate time to celebrate neuro-diversity because these differences make us stronger together. This year, the newly formed Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) committee introduced the celebration of diversity week from April 19 to 22. We believe in accepting and celebrating individuals, and what makes each of us unique and different. It is important that everyone at the school - staff, student or faculty - feels valued, respected and listened to.
We had multiple meetings to decide on the name for this special week. We thought of calling it Acceptance Week or Awareness Week at first. In the end, we settled on DivErsIty Week. The word “diversity” includes the letters D, E, and I; which makes the acronym representing diversity, equality and inclusion, values which are central to THS. The team agreed that this should be recognized and celebrated at THS.
DIVERSITY is a big word! The school celebrated four areas during the week. The 4 areas were where Everyone celebrated diversity in individual differences, diversity in food cultures, neurodiversity and diversity in species.
We decided to kick start the week by celebrating individual differences and the diversity of our school community. Being different is what makes each of us unique and should be celebrated. Through discussions and videos, each grade learned different keywords related to diversity. Keywords like communication, creativity, perspective and collaboration came up in most of the classes. The highlight was when each class realized that the diversity made the class stronger as a whole. In fact, these keywords do represent how diverse our school is and how everyone works together to build a strong community.
Day 2 was fun because everyone bonded over food. We looked at various food cultures across all grades. Being an international school composed of students from more than 40 nationalities, food is a common passion for many and our students love exploring how different cultures have different cuisines. The ingredients, methods of preparation, preservation techniques and types of food eaten at different meals vary depending on which culture. Upper grades at the Grove looked more in-depth when they discussed the area in which different families lived, where their ancestors originated and also influenced their food choices. It’s worth looking at food around the world. On the Air floor, a video was shown of different McDonalds’ restaurants around the world and how this global fast-food chain adapted its menus to suit the food and culture of different countries. We recognized the importance of celebrating cuisines as they are intrinsically linked to the cultures and countries they come from.
On Day 3, we looked at the strengths and talents of being neurodiverse. Neurodiversity week was founded by Siena Castellon back in 2018. She is a remarkable teenager who was diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia and ADHD. She wanted to make a difference in the way others perceive people with learning differences. The committee felt that her message is an important one as it creates a balanced view which focuses on equality, highlighting each person’s unique talents, abilities, and strengths. While some grades reviewed books and videos about neurodiversity, the Wood and Air floors participated in some interesting activities. Members of the Canadian International School’s Neurodiversity Club visited THS to give a talk and presentation to our students on why it is important to understand neurodiversity. They also talked about their Neurodiversity Club at CDNIS and encouraged our students to start our own as well. We look forward to our students starting this club at THS.
To finish off the amazing week, it was actually World Earth Day on April 22, 2022! More than a billion people celebrate Earth Day across the globe. The diversity in the variety of living species on earth should be celebrated. These included plants, animals, fungi and bacteria. There are species yet to be discovered; while other species are being threatened with extinction due to human activities. Each grade learned about World Earth Day and the beauty of diversity in species through a short presentation. The end message was we need to appreciate how all species work together to create our world.
As a school, we have achieved the goals of celebrating diversity through looking at individual differences and extending it to the overall species diversity. Everyone had a great week and we look forward to it next year.