When I first moved to Toowoomba just over three years ago, the quickest way for me to drive to school was along West Street. This took me past the Garden City Mosque, near completion but burnt out. I remembered hearing about this on the news in New South Wales and thought what a horrible advertisement this was for Toowoomba. It is interesting how the actions of a few can reflect on many.
As I grew to know the school community, I found that it was the antithesis of this, an inclusive diverse community where individuality and difference were celebrated. In fact, when others ask me what I love about Glennie my answer is always, ‘the girls’. They portray themselves as confident, yet grounded individuals who are comfortable in their own skin. The school community allows them to be who they are and support them to grow.
As Nelson Mandela said “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of their skin or their background or their religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
In the last few months, the Garden City Mosque has been under renovation and again, nears completion and in the wake of the tragic massacre in New Zealand the steps of the mosque have been flooded with flowers. I wish the news would report this story to truly reflect the Toowoomba community I have come to know. I feel fortunate to be part of a school that encourages and supports diversity and individuality. Let us all show our young people how to love so that they can ‘be the reason’ our community is inclusive, warm and welcoming.
Mrs Jo Matherson