THE multicultural classroom may seem like a new phenomenon in Orange, but it is as much a shift in the countries of origin of new residents as a change in the numbers themselves.
Orange is no stranger to migrants, as many of our older residents who came here from post-war Europe know. The family names in many businesses around town reflect the massive exodus from European countries of people desperate to find opportunities that scores of war-ravaged countries could not offer.
A century before that the search for gold brought people from many countries here in search of wealth and opportunity.
Today the ethnic and cultural mix of Orange is changing once again. Now imigrants from Asia, Africa and South America are joining an exciting mix once dominated by Europeans.
The result is a modern mulitcultural mix, which, like post-war Australia, reflects the international political and economic climate of our time.
For children in most schools in Orange this brings the character of metropolitan Australia to a regional city that would once have been described simply as European.
It is true the cultural differences are greater, but schools are successful melting pots because young children don’t carry the baggage of their parents, regardless of whether they be recent arrivals or long time residents.
For teachers the challenges include catering for students who speak a language other than Engish at home and who will come from varied economic backgrounds.
For the children though, this no more or less than the modern Australian society many will study and work in when they move to metropolitan areas.
And in time the business names and telephone directories of Orange will come to reflect this chapter in Australian history too.