Over 600 people are expected to attend POLYNITE next month, St Patrick’s College Campbelltown’s biennial celebration of the many cultures represented in the school community.
According to Jade Gibson, Performance Co-ordinator at St Pat’s, POLYNITE is a “spectacular” evening of dance, song, music and food which gives all students the opportunity to engage in their cultural heritage, to display it to the wider community, and to explore the culture of others.
But POLYNITE also has another agenda. Since it began in 2009, the event has raised more than $16,000 for the Pacific Calling Partnership, an awareness-raising group that advocates for low-lying island communities in the Torres Strait and Pacific who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Jade said the Pacific Calling Partnership was chosen as the fundraising recipient because it is “close to the hearts of a large population of our girls and their families”.
“In the past, their relatives and families have been, and are still being, affected by the effects of climate change,” she explained.
The first POLYNITE in 2009 was initiated by a group of Year 12 students who wanted to raise money for Pacific island communities affected by climate change. As such, the event focused on a number of Polynesian cultures.
In 2010 and 2011 however, POLYNITE expanded to include many cultures in the College (‘poly’ means many). Now, due to the scale of the event and the massive effort required to host it, the celebration is held biennially. It’s organised mostly by students with support from their teachers and families.
“We are very proud of this event,” Jade told The Good Oil. “We feel it encapsulates the type of students we have here at St Pat’s – always willing to look beyond their own needs to help others in an effort to alleviate struggle and hardship and to promote peace and justice to those in need. They work very hard to put this event together and the night is a spectacular affair.”
Despite the pressures of Year 12, Easterakesa Mote and Faleosina Mata’afa are enthusiastically involved in preparations for POLYNITE.
Easter said she participates in the celebration because she wants to embrace her culture and other cultures within the school community.
“Although we are diverse we still come together as one, to support one another,” she said.
“There are people within my church community from the island of Tuvalu who are in need of financial as well as spiritual support. This event highlights our need to support them.”
Faleosina believes St Pat’s should showcase ethnicity and POLYNITE is a way to do that.
“Of course, our families are more than willing to get involved… costumes and food are being made by family members. This year Easter’s mum is making most of our costumes,” she said.
POLYNITE will be held on Saturday April 6, 2013, at Mary Sheil Centre, St Patrick’s College, Campbelltown. A cultural afternoon tea will begin at 4:30pm and performances will be held between 6pm and 9pm.
Family tickets $30 (two adults and up to five children), adult or high school students $10, children (primary school) $5. Public tickets can be reserved by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org