Published on August 14, 2022
HVGS is a diverse community of cultures, identities, and customs, and we strive to embrace and value them all. We want everyone at HVGS to feel accepted for who they are – whatever their background, belief or identity.
Everyone is welcome at HVGS!
We promote an inclusive culture not only because it is the right thing to do but because inclusion benefits everyone. It is no surprise that belonging, connection and engagement increase when students see themselves represented and valued in their school community.
This year a group of students, supported by school staff, formed the HVGS Affinity Group. Together, the group sought to find a way to celebrate the diverse identities that make up the fabric of our School and to champion connection at HVGS. A whole school event – Uniquely You Day, was born from the groups’ collaborative effort.
“It was a day of self-expression and acceptance which allowed everybody (including those in minority groups) to feel included and accepted for simply who they are.
“Uniquely You Day was created as a day for everybody – students and staff – to feel a sense of belonging within the School regardless of race, sexuality, gender and religion,” says Year 10 student Sophie Abrams.
This student-led initiative was a resounding success. Our ELC, Junior School and Senior School students all embraced the opportunity to dress in the clothing that makes them unique, and it was beautiful to see so many expressions of self-represented in so many varying ways.
Some students wore traditional and cultural dress, and others wore clothing that expressed their taste in music, arts, culture, sport or personal interests. Some students wore clothing that simply made them feel relaxed and comfortable. Staff were also able to express their uniqueness, opening channels of dialogue that may never be explored otherwise.
“My highlight of Uniquely You Day was seeing everybody wear what makes them feel most like their true selves,” says Sophie. “It was a joyful day which shows that celebrating inclusion and diversity creates a healthy environment for everybody to thrive and our overall happiness at school.”
Uniquely You Day was a day of genuine connection, seeing others for who they are and embracing one’s true self. Mostly, it was a day of celebration, belonging and acceptance.
Donations were collected for Minus18 and Reach Out Australia. Thank you to the HVGS community for supporting Affinity Group to raise close to $900 which will help these charities undertake meaningful work with young people in the community.
About the HVGS Affinity Group
Affinity Group mainly focuses on the LGBTQIA+ community and what we can improve on. The groups discuss things such as bathrooms, uniforms, and language, which we chat about in our lunchtime meetings with the hopes of supporting change in the School. It’s essential to students that we have a voice and can bring up these issues in a safe space with the goal of working through solutions – Sophie Abrhams.