International School Utrecht
On Saturday 4 June over 90 secondary students and teachers across the local NUOVO secondary schools (International School Utrecht belongs to the NUOVO schools) participated in the Utrecht Canal Pride. What a party for everyone on the boat and also for the thousands of people along the canals who cheered us on (we were the only boat with teenagers on board).
By Kelly Murray, biology teacher and students TJ , India and Lia, International School Utrecht
Being allowed to celebrate who you are is quite unique in the world. Acceptance of the LHBTIQ+ community starts with visibility. That is why the pride parade is such an important event. During the Utrecht Canal Pride we got to celebrate all members of our community and we loved this year’s theme: ‘just be you’.
20 ISUtrecht students from grades 7-12 took part in the parade, alongside 3 teachers (Ms Murray, Ms Ayes and Ms Oyarzo). It was so nice to connect and celebrate with our colleagues from other local NUOVO schools, seeing our students share decorations, and paint each other’s faces transcending the divisions of school buildings to unite as one, promoting compassion and connections with the outside world. We even had some ISUtrecht graduates join on the boa and it was great to see that their open-mindedness and compassion continues beyond our school doors. Next year’s parade will take place on Saturday 3 June- so save the date!
All you have to be is human
‘I thought the boat was a warming experience encapsulating the school’s most outstanding qualities of inclusiveness. Being the student council president allowed me to represent all of the students in our school who not only accept but also embrace and encourage others to be themselves. It made me realise that you do not have to be Queer to be a supporter, all you have to be is human. Ultimately the Pride Boat accentuated the greatest colours of our school and it was an incredible experience.’
-by TJ (grade 10) – Student council president
‘The Nuovo boat was a thrilling and touching experience. There was an incredible amount of excitement and energy that came from the surroundings, music and friendship. It is important to allow teenagers to feel comfortable with the expression of identity and the Nuovo boat was an opportunity to feel free of judgement and it was lovely to experience the level of support we had from strangers. I had never felt like such a part of an accepting community, from friends and bystanders, as I did on the Nuovo boat. I had a great time!’
-by India (grade 10)
‘To be who we are is the most unshackling experience there is. I know people that have no freedom to be themselves. The pride parade filled me with joy to see so many people embracing who they are. This event finally made me like living in the Netherlands.’
-by Lia (grade 11)