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  • Northside West

Flying the flag

Friday, 7th December, 2018 7:57am
Flying the flag

Pictured at the Irish Traveller Movement Yellow Flag Awards are (l-r): Deira Jautake, Holly O’Brien and Ava Saunders, from St Catherine’s Senior Girls, Cabra. Photo: Tommy Clancy

Flying the flag

Pictured at the Irish Traveller Movement Yellow Flag Awards are (l-r): Deira Jautake, Holly O’Brien and Ava Saunders, from St Catherine’s Senior Girls, Cabra. Photo: Tommy Clancy

THE young pupils of St Catherine’s in Cabra were amongst students from 14 schools around Ireland who were awarded a Yellow Flag for addressing racism and fostering diversity.

Pioneered and coordinated by the Irish Traveller Movement, the Yellow Flag programme for pupils, teachers, parents and the wider community helps schools embrace new communities and their religious and ethnic traditions.

St Catherine’s student Amna Raja from sixth class spoke about how proud she was to have been part of her school’s Diversity Committee at the awards ceremony last week.

“The Yellow Flag is welcoming everyone to our school from all around the world,” she said.

“It means sharing talents, making friends, being equal, treating others nicely and not making fun of other people's skin colour, what they look like, where they are from or how they speak.”

Another sixth class pupil, Megan, said the Yellow Flag had meant a lot to her.

“I think that having the flag makes our school more welcoming to everybody no matter what they look like or how they sound or where they're from,” she continued.

“As time goes on I hope that our school achieves more of our diversity goals and earns more flags. As it is my last year in the school we are honoured to achieve our first Yellow Flag!”

St Catherine’s teacher, Maria Bourke, said engaging with the Yellow Flag Programme had been an exciting journey for the school.

“As link teacher I got to work closely with the school's Diversity Committee and support them in their endeavours to make our school a more welcoming place,” she said.

“Our school is so wonderfully diverse and the children became so proud of their own identities over the course of the year. The language buddy morning was one of my favourite parts of this journey as the children lit up when they were given the opportunity to speak in their mother tongue with other children in the school, to make new friends with a common skill.

“This is something we hope to do lots this school year. We look forward to another very diverse year and continuing to make our school an exciting, colourful, welcoming place!”

Other local schools honoured at the awards included Castleknock Community College.

“The Yellow Flag is a great opportunity to understand about and interact with different people who are all unique in their beliefs, race, gender, preferences and more,” a school spokesperson said.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone presented the awards to the schools and praised the students who took part in the Yellow Flag programme.

“It is my firm hope that the fantastic work being undertaken with the students here will spread beyond the school grounds and have a positive impact in the wider community,” she said.

“The best part of my job as I travel around the country is meeting young people and hearing their desire for our modern democratic republic to be an open society where everyone can expect fairness, equality and justice." 

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here