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Students celebrate diversity

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The kindergarten class of Chute Lake Elementary School opened the Harmony Day assembly by singing We Care for the entire school on Wednesday. Schools throughout the Central Okanagan celebrated diversity with a variety of events.
Students throughout the Central Okanagan school district united to celebrate diversity during the seventh annual Harmony Day Wednesday.
"Every year we celebrate this special day as an opportunity to recognize and encourage respect for all the members of our diverse community," said Leigh-Ann Yanow, chairwoman of the Central Okanagan school district Harmony Day planning committee.
The theme for this year's events was Everyone Belongs and featured a variety multicultural activities, anti-bullying workshops and other activities.
"Every school in the district will receive a package with a variety of resources to be used on Harmony Day and throughout the school year," said Yanow, adding this year, schools were given a poster with an inspirational quote from Nelson Mandela.
"We also have schools adding multicultural and diversity spirit days where the students dress in their specific
heritage clothing, or in orange for Harmony Day."
Sarah Parmar, teacher/librarian at Chute Lake Elementary School, said she believes children are becoming more welcoming of other cultures.
"There is so much education about it and it is talked about all the time," said Parmar.
"It's something that is really focused on in the schools."
Like many area schools, Chute Lake held an assembly as part of its Harmony Day activities with the kindergarten students opening the assembly singing We Care.
Moyra Baxter, chairwoman of the board of education, had high praise for students and the caring they show towards others, no matter their cultural background or social status.
"Here in the Central Okanagan school district, there are students who visit the Kelowna Gospel Mission, serve dessert and play card games with the people they meet. They are totally non-judgmental and really enjoy the time they spend there.
"These same students also sponsor a child in another country, and fundraise to support her," said Baxter.
"The young people in the Central Okanagan also care about human rights - especially those of children in other countries who are discriminated against, not allowed to attend school, or who are used as child labour.
"They believe we are all equal, regardless of the colour of our skin, our religion, or our race."

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