It was the third annual celebration for the Upper School, and the first for the Prep.
“When I arrived at UCC three years ago, I noticed a gap and thought Pride Week could be used to highlight a part of the community that’s not always seen,” says Patrick Callegaro, an Upper School mathematics teacher and adviser to the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA). “It has really flourished and the direction the school has gone in being a more inclusive space is really impressive.”
The Upper School
Working with their adviser, members of the GSA planned the week’s program at the Upper School. Instead of the usual assembly, Pride Week kicked off on Monday with a 13-minute video featuring clips of faculty and staff offering their support for Pride and discussing why they believed the week was important, or how they planned to mark the occasion. On Tuesday and Wednesday, during group advising sessions at each House, students had the opportunity to discuss topics such as homophobia, allyship and inclusion.
Thursday brought an online panel discussion featuring Callegaro; GSA head Mathieu Hansen, a Year 12 student; and two Year 10 students. They answered questions submitted anonymously from classmates on a range of topics.
The events culminated in a game at each House on the Kahoot! platform, where students were asked multiple-choice, Pride-related questions, accumulating points based on how fast they came up with correct answers. One of the prizes was a custom UCC Pride tie, created last year.
“It’s important to spread awareness and demonstrate that LGBTQ people exist in everyone’s lives and to make people who are in the shadows feel visible,” says RIchard Sutton, GSA secretary. “It’s also important to celebrate freedom and the fact that being LGBTQ is no longer taboo.”
A planning committee was headed by counsellor and Health and Life Skills teacher Martha Boyce, to ensure it was manageable given the challenges of the pandemic-impacted year.
Says Boyce, “In assemblies, we talked about how differences between people are welcome, and the importance of everyone feeling safe and comfortable.” Age-appropriate resources, including a library guide, were shared with all classroom teachers.
The notion of knowing who you are and what you uniquely bring to the world, your family and your peers was an overarching theme. A number of teachers chose to focus a lesson on students’ individuality. Afterward, students created “I AM” posters. In other classes, the subject fit perfectly into the topic of inquiry being studied. In Senior Kindergarten, the idea of variety led to a discussion of families and personalities. Classes made banners and some decorated classroom doors.
The Prep also held an Express Yourself casual dress day. Boyce chose a “Be Kind” T-shirt, exemplifying what was at the heart of the week’s endeavours. “It was a special week,” Boyce says.