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24 March 2017

Speaking their language

As public schools around Western Australia celebrate Harmony Day this week, the principal of one of the State’s most culturally diverse schools, Ruth Proslmeyr of Piara Waters Primary School, shares why language has made her community one family.

On Harmony Day we celebrate the spirit of our community as one Piara Waters Primary School family.

My story of coming to Australia is not so different from many families at our school. I arrived in Perth from England almost 10 years ago as a migrant professional worker bringing my family to start a new life and to give my children a better future.

We have not been disappointed. Australia has been very good to us and in return we have been determined every day to give back to this country that we now call home.

I do feel lucky. I had never been to Australia before my move and knew no one – we just landed with a suitcase and a heart full of hope. Most of all I came looking for a community.

Standing at my school today I can say I found not just a community but a chance to help grow one too. I cannot thank the Piara Waters Primary School community enough for allowing me to contribute to something so very special.

As I speak with students and their families, I am filled with such pride and am also truly humbled to be the principal of such a beautifully rich and diverse school community.

Wherever I go, and whoever I speak with, I talk with such pride about our wonderful students and their families. They speak more than 50 different languages, come from all over the world, display such pride and share with confidence the spirit of their home language.

It is through that sharing and growing an understanding that we have the opportunity to create a future world where we all belong without fear or favour.

Harmony Day is our opportunity to bring together the spirit of this community that we live and breath everyday. To say you believe in something and not to live it is wrong. So for us at Piara Waters Primary School – we don’t just say we believe in community spirit, it is the very core of who we all are. 

While we enjoy food and the performances on Harmony Day, what is central to our school is that which truly defines us all and gives us our identity – language and communication.

I believe that the spirit of a school lies in its community and that we can create tomorrow’s world today by talking with and listening to each other – simple honest human conversation. Let’s have good, honest conversations to ensure our children continue to build a great Australia for tomorrow.

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