'Unity in diversity' for Br Nicholas in multicultural school life

Patrician Brother Nicholas Harsas is a longstanding popular figure in Catholic education in Sydney’s south-west who has had the responsibility and blessings of being involved in the lives of families right across the region, The Liverpool City Champion reports.

Br Nicholas has just taken up the post as principal at Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School at Carnes  Hill after long and successful stints at Our  Lady  of  the  Rosary  Catholic  Primary  School at Fairfield and, previously, St  Therese  Catholic  Primary  School covering Sadlier and Miller and Patrician Brothers’  Primary  School at Fairfield.

“It’s extraordinary really as 11 years ago I moved from Liverpool where I was principal at St Therese Catholic Primary School to take up the position at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School at Fairfield. In 2019 I’m doing the reverse, moving from Fairfield back into Liverpool as principal of Holy Spirit Catholic Primary School,” he said.

“The last 11 years has really only confirmed and affirmed what I’ve known for the past 31 years – that teaching is a wonderful ministry and belonging to a vibrant, positive school community is life-giving and a real joy. Working with students, staff and parents in a school community is a privilege and something I look forward to each and every day.”

Br Nicholas said that the experiences that have left an indelible mark on him include working with teachers and students and seeing their growth.

Br Nicholas Harsas FSP ( Photo: Afonsus Fok/Catholic Weekly )

Br Nicholas Harsas FSP (Photo: Afonsus Fok/Catholic Weekly)

“For teachers, moving from being inexperienced, straight from university, and witnessing their development into passionate, proficient teachers who do so much, educationally and in other ways to support the students in their care,” he said.

“Observing the growth in students is also a joy. Student growth is a proud moment for the students themselves, their parents and their teachers. This growth can be around confidence, language acquisition, settling into Australia, learning English, well-being and learning.”

Working in south-west Sydney, perhaps Australia’s most multicultural region, has taught him much, Br Nicholas said.

“I’ve learnt we have such a dynamic, cosmopolitan and multicultural community and this diversity enriches the lives and experiences of children and adults. Communities such as Liverpool and Fairfield promote acceptance of cultural and ethnic differences and provide experiences not enjoyed in many other parts of Sydney and Australia. In a primary-school setting the students are so accepting and welcoming of each other and proudly call themselves Australian – whether they’re from an Anglo background, born in Australia, Indigenous or newly arrived in the country. Truly, there’s ‘unity in diversity’ here.”

This article is an excerpt from a Q and A interview with Br Nicholas by Ian Horner in The Liverpool City Champion. See the full article here.