Very costly dressing down
IT was cheers all around yesterday as hundreds of Craigburn Primary School students proudly donned school dresses, tutus and pretty frocks for a good cause in a final show of defiance against opposition from Senator Cory Bernardi.
Despite the Australian Conservatives Senator’s rant about “absurd gender morphing” in reaction to the primary school’s “Do It In A Dress” campaign, students, parents and teachers threw themselves behind the charity with gusto.
With a goal of raising $900 originally, Mr Bernardi’s intervention provided an incredible boost for the event, with donations skyrocketing to a record $277,000.
Principal Paul Luke said he was “unbelievably proud” of his students.
“It’s been a fairly crazy week. I’m really proud from the support not just within our community but it seems Australia-wide and also internationally,” he said.
“Strangely enough when it all ballooned out on that Thursday evening, children were coming to school not really aware of the media frenzy that was happening (but) it’s been a terrific opportunity to listen to different opinions individually as a school and for families.”
He was diplomatic when asked what he would say to Mr Bernardi if he had the chance.
“We have different views of societal values. We live in a democracy (and) he’s entitled to his opinion,” he said.
“The overwhelming response from our community has been to support such a worthy cause.”
One Girl chief executive officer Moran Koegel, who heads the charity which raises money to help poor African girls go to school, was overwhelmed by the school’s efforts.
“I am absolutely blown away. We could have started with something a bit negative but instead, there was this rallying of support around the students,” she said.
“It’s not because of some Tweet why people are donating, it’s because people have been inspired by the students.”
Raising just $300 allows a girl living in Sierra Leone and Uganda the opportunity to go to school for one year.
“A school dress is actually a really big deal - not all girls, in fact most girls – don’t get the opportunity to go to school,” Ms Koegel said.
“So a school dress represents education, it represents empowerment, it represents opportunity.”
Father-of-three Luke Strudwick, 35, of Flagstaff Hill, right, arrived to school dropoff wearing a school dress with his wife Karen and their children Ethan, 9, Cohen, 6 and Audrey, 1.
“The kids really wanted to dress up. We thought we’d give some support and come along dressed up,” he said.
Ethan, who like many boys, opted to wear a dress, agreed with his dad.
“I’m pretty proud of the school. It (the dress) just feels different really,” he said.
CHEERS TO A GREAT CAUSE: Craigburn Primary School celebrates the school’s successful Do It In A Dress Day yesterday.