MARYSTOWN, NL – When Yalini Sivachandran and her family moved to Marystown from Toronto, she didn’t know what to expect.
“I (had) been told that there (were) not much activities for kids and the educational curriculum was not competitive,” she wrote in a letter to The Southern Gazette.
She decided to do her own research before making the move to Marystown, “a town I never noticed on the Canadian map before.”
Sivachandran, who now runs a dentistry practice in Marystown, came to Canada as a skilled immigrant from Sri Lanka. She made her home in Toronto before making the move to the Burin Peninsula
Moving to Marystown from a larger center was a big adjustment, she said.
“I moved here from Toronto, so it (was) a big move for me.”
She explained that as it came time for her son Swaran to start kindergarten, she had some fears about cultural diversity and acceptance at school.
“As a mother I had this fear and Sacred Heart (Academy) teachers simply broke this and showed how they acknowledge cultural diversity and the values.”
She added that unlike Toronto, there is not a lot of cultural diversity in Marystown, but she’s been thankful to see the school’s teaching staff create a positive environment where both students and teachers are respectful of different backgrounds.
“They asked my son to do some presentations about cultural things in school,” she explained. “That was really impressive.”
Her son gave a presentation about a popular event called Thai Pongal.
The Hindu festival is celebrated to honour the sun god Surya and to thank him for blessing the harvest.
Sivachandran said she is thankful to the teachers and staff of Sacred Heart Academy for introducing and highlighting the concept of cultural diversity in young minds.
“I strongly believe that there is a richness that comes from students working side by side with others who are not of the same cookie-cutter model.”