THE North Presentation Secondary School in Farranree recently held a series of events in conjunction with Stand Up Awareness Week.
Stand Up Awareness Week presents an opportunity for second-level schools, youth services, and Youthreach to take a stand against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. The week affords them an opportunity to take steps to make spaces safe and supportive for LGBTI+ young people.
The North Presentation Secondary School engaged in a number of events as part of Stand Up Awareness Week. They made a digital poster which was displayed on the school TV at the entrance to the school, while LGBTI+ vocabularies were used to create more awareness with each subject class throughout the week.
The Cork city secondary school also held a ‘Rainbow Day’ on the last day of the event when all their pupils wore different colour clothes or accessories to represent the colours of the rainbow flag.
The first-year students wore red, the second year students wore orange, the third-year students wore yellow, the fourth year students wore green, the fifth year students wore blue and the sixth year students wore purple which ensured an array of colours marked the last day of the successful event.
A fundraiser was also organised by students on ‘Rainbow Day’ with all the funds raised going towards making a school badge that is more durable than a sticker.
Their Transition Year and Leaving Cert Applied students also combined to hand sew a fabric rainbow LGBT flag. This process involved a lot of work behind the scenes during the week, while fifth-year student Sophie Lucey gave a talk about awareness of LGBTI+ with civic, social and political education (CSPE) social, personal and health education (SPHE) and religion classes for all the year groups in the school.
JJ Park, who teaches art in the northside secondary school, said: “It was a very successful and positive week. There was great colour and a lovely atmosphere in the school corridors all week to mark the event.
“The whole school got behind the initiative. Students and teachers participated together and they enjoyed it. It was conducted in a fun and positive environment. We all learned a lot. The flag will be kept up for the rest of the year. It was a great experience,” she said.
Ms Park said it is important to promote initiatives such as Stand Up Awareness Week so everyone can learn.
“The North Presentation Secondary School is a very progressive school. It is important to promote initiatives like this in a school environment. The school management was very supportive. We planned the event with the senior groups. It was the first time it was celebrated as a big event.
“There was a lot of work that went on behind the scenes to make it a success. Planning began for this event back in September. We had several meetings with the students. There was great unity involved which helped make it so successful.
“It is all about inclusivity. The students will take this message from the week and learn so much. They can then pass this message on to their friends and family members,” she added.