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09 March 2023

Head’s Blog - Multicultural Day and International Women Day

Head’s Blog - Multicultural Day and International Women Day

So much to celebrate, yet so much still to do.

Today may possibly go down as my favourite day of the academic year thus far. In bringing together our whole school to mark, celebrate and reflect on both International Women’s Day and our own Multicultural Day, we have a fantastic opportunity to come together to celebrate our cultural differences and join collectively in the powerful belief of what women can achieve. 

Students coming to school this morning in clothing of their cultural heritage was breath taking. The range of beautiful colours and styles was awe-inspiring. My union flag tie and English rose did not seem to compare very favourably to the efforts of students! As we swept into the Theatre, the sea of colour crystalised what a positive and meaningful day promised to lay ahead. 

To start our day, we were lucky to be joined a member of our alumni, Esther-Tofi Williams, currently studying Law and Social Studies at the University of Warwick, who gave the introductory talk to students and staff. Esther-Tofi was the student who founded the St. Francis’ College Multicultural Day in 2019 and staff were delighted to see her return to launch this year’s event. 

Esther-Tofi fluently outlined the challenges that still faced women as we mark International Women’s Day, but also encouraged all to be bold and brave and to love themselves. I was particularly moved by the reference to the need to not hide who you are, your style and what makes you happy in life. This message was woven beautifully into the cultural identity of students too; to celebrate cultural heritage, backgrounds and avoid the temptation to ‘fit in’ with other people and other cultures. The message that there is great power in embracing yourself, your history, your languages, your appearance, your dreams and desires was one that all students would benefit to fully reflect upon.

The 2023 Multicultural Day promises to be an exciting event with a range of activities, from learning about cultural differences in art, history, languages and dance to enable students – mixed up in year groups – to embrace a range of cultural experiences. Esther remarked, having toured the activities, “it is absolutely beautiful that the girls feel able to celebrate and share their culture with one another. It’s perfect!”

Still, as we reflect on the many positives and successes that we have had on the journey of multiculturalism and diversity, as well as on the rights of women, this day is also an opportunity to consider the barriers that do continue to remain– sadly – in the United Kingdom and across the world. As a College, we are always working hard to ensure that our students can overcome these for both themselves and others. Days like today are just one part of that commitment, that movement, to break glass ceilings wherever we see them. 

I passionately believe that it is days like this which help empower our students, such as alumni Dr Nicky Fox, the newly appointed Head of Science at NASA, to realise their own potential and to not let societal attitudes dictate individual futures. I want all of our students to believe – to know – that they can do anything that they put their mind to.

I would like to finish by thanking Jaskeerat and Christa, both Year 12 students, without whose hard work today would not have been possible. They are inspirational role models to all other students in the school.

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