‘Rainbow Day / Proud to be me!’ in Portlaoise ETNS

By Rozz Lewis, Portlaoise ETNS  

Building on the school’s participation in initiatives such as the INTO’s Different Families Same love and StandUp Awareness week Portlaoise ETNS organised their own Rainbow ‘Proud to be Me’ Day last November. Here Rozz Lewis explains how the initiative integrates with the Learn Together curriculum and the Educate Together equality-based ethos.  

The students, staff, and community of Portlaoise Educate Together were treated to a very colourful day in November when they officially raised their LGBTQI+ flag following on from other initiatives celebrating diversity. As part of our Learn Together curriculum and as way to strengthen the awareness of our school’s equality-based ethos, the 5th Classes came up with the idea of a Rainbow day: a day of colour, inclusiveness and diversity. In the classes, we discussed the theme of “Proud to me” and there was a fabulous whole school art competition with over 400 entries! 5th Classes engaged with learning on the history of the rainbow flag and the gay rights activist Harvey Milk. They composed acrostic poems on the theme of pride and speeches to announce the official raising of the flag.   

On the day, they performed “Three little birds” to show peace, kindness, and solidarity with all minorities. The flag was raised by Clive Davis, Regional Director of Laois Services and he praised the inclusive and kind message of ‘love is love’ that our school was celebrating. After the ceremony was over, we enjoyed rainbow cakes, colourful sweets and our staff even donned rainbow masks throughout the school.  

It was a positive day for everyone and we were proud to be part of a network of equality-based schools like Educate Together where the school community can stand up for what is right and celebrate everything that is diverse and wonderful in our world.