The student body attending the St Mary’s NS Edgeworthstown is composed of 14 different nationalities. This makes for a cultural diverse student population and that diversity certainly was celebrated at the school’s first ever International Day held this week.
The International Day was a two fold event which integrated the individual class projects recognisingthe different countries from which the pupils hail supported by a feast of native dishes prepared by their parents.
These exhibitions honoured the cultural identity of the countries of Pakistan, India, Lithuania, United Kingdom, America, India, Nigeria, Romania, New Zealand, Latvia, Poland, Czech Slovakia, Portugal and of course, Ireland.
Local crowds as well as well wishers from beyond the Edgeworthstown region attended the innovative event.
Principal Helen O’Gorman, a native of Galway, was thrilled with the public reaction to the project.
“I’m delighted with how the day went. It’s important for the students to understand where their classmates originally come from and I think everyone got a great sense of that today. The arrival of the sport’s hall enabled us to celebrate International day and we’ve been working on the presentations since the end of May.”
Ms O’Gorman also noted that Edgeworthstown now has the highest student count of any Primary School in Longford. “We’ve wanted to do this for years so it’s great that we’ve had the opportunity to do it this year. The parents have requested that we do it again next year so it was a great success.”
After the inaugural raising of the Green Flag at the entrance to the building, the attendants fled to the sports hall behind the school where they were greeted by a colourful array of displays lining the perimeter of the hall.
Factual notes detailing the profile of each country laced the stalls and some were complemented by a sample of their traditional meals and snacks. People were free to wander the stalls in a unique dash round the world and at the Indian slot a film highlighting the Indian lifestyle was being broadcast from behind the stall.
Ola Sumbo from Nigeria, and mother of four students in the school, was one of the supervisors of her stall. “These are all foods that Nigerians enjoy such as Catfish, fried yams, Cassva Flakes and Ofad rice. These dishes take around 20 minutes to cook,” she revealed.
Bridie Halpin was a resident of Conneticut in America for 12 years before returning to Ireland in 2006. Her two sons Christopher and Adam are 4th and 2nd class pupils in the school.
“Yeah I loved living in America and these are some of the traditional foods eaten there. We have burgers, fries, pretzels and pancakes.”
An independent slot was also allocated to a display of a project completed by 4th and 5th class pupils. In a joint venture with NUI Maynooth, the students participated in a Dissolving Boundaries North/South project.