MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 11, 2015 – While students across the English Montreal School Board are continuously celebrating Black History Month throughout February, a number of schools will mark the month with special events and assemblies.
- Headlining assemblies at Laurier Macdonald High School (7355 Viau) on Friday, February 13 (9:30 am) and John Paul I High School (8455 Pré Laurin) in St. Léonard on February 18 (9:30 am) will be noted CTV Montreal reporter Maya Johnson and Reverend Darryl Gray, founder and head pastor of the Imani Family and Full Gospel Church and former State Senator for Kansas.
Also joining Laurier Macdonald students will be EMSB alumni and former contestant on So You Think You Can Dance Canada Justin Jackson and speaking to students at John Paul I High School will be EMSB alumni, former professional basketball player and Olympian Dwight Walton (1988 Summer Olympics).
Both assemblies will conclude with performances from the Coronation Elementary School Steel Pan Band and the Academie de Danse.
- At LaurenHill Academy (2505 Cote Vertu) in St. Laurent, the celebration is ongoing throughout February.
The highlight of the month-long celebration is set to take place on Tuesday, February 17 (1 pm) with the Taste of the Islands festival. During the lunch period, students will enjoy Caribbean and African food, prepared by parents, which will be accompanied by authentic music, courtesy of the Coronation Elementary School Steel Pan Band.
Other activities included:
A black trivia event with all the homerooms in which the winning room received a Caribbean breakfast.
Grade 10 art workshop with Patrick de Belen, a Spoken Word artist. Throughout one morning, in addition to his performance, de Belen conducted intimate workshops that helped students express themselves and discover hidden talents.
Additionally, throughout the month, the LaurenHill Academy Voice radio station, the only student-run radio station in Canada, is playing Caribbean and African music during the lunch period.
The celebrations will conclude with a visit by Jonathan Emile at the end of the month where he will preform “Songs of Freedom.”
- On Monday, February 23, Juno Award Winner and Order of Canada recipient Ranee Lee will visit Edinburgh Elementary School (500 Hudson) in Monteal West.
- On Tuesday, February 24 (2:00 pm), Dante Elementary School (6090 Lachenaie) in St. Léonard will mark Black History Month with a visit from former MNA Yolande James. When elected, James was the first black female MNA as well as was appointed as the first black cabinet minister. The assembly will conclude with performances from the Coronation Elementary School Steel Pan Band and the Academie de Danse.
In honor of Black History Month, Spiritual Animator Veronica D’Agata organized several presentations in her schools by coordinating with “Overture with the Arts.” These presentations complement the ongoing work of Spiritual Animators around Black History as well as issues of virtue education, tolerance, acceptance and understanding others.
Students at Royal Vale School in N.D.G. and James Lyng High School in St. Henri were inspired by Grammy nominated singer Jonathan Emile and his presentation entitled “Songs of Freedom.” Emile’s presentation explored the music of people of different faiths and cultures that have contributed to Black history and social justice.
“There is only one human race. We just have different skin colors, hair textures and cultures. Black history is as much my history as it is your history,” said Emile. “It’s a part of our collective heritage — our one human history.” The students were truly inspired by his presentation.
Additionally, St. Gabriel Elementary in St. Henri and St. Monica, and Royal Vale Elementary Schools in N.D.G. had an educational and entertaining “Songs & Stories” presentation about Black History in Canada. The speaker, Tamara Brown, is an actress-singer-director-writer and cofounder of the Metachroma Theatre in Montreal. Ms. Brown dynamically presented the truth of what Canadian Black History is, along with several musical performances of traditional songs of that time and their hidden messages. The students learned about the value of each person regardless of their background, skin colour or religion and that there is only one human race; each of us can change the world for the better.
The students of Edinburgh school celebrated Black History Month with a special assembly in which all students listened to and participated in songs and stories. The assembly planned by Mr. Joseph Monachino, Spiritual and Community Animator, and Pina Trengia, teacher at Edinburgh, allowed the students to understand the diverse history and culture of the African-Canadian experience. A special thank you to Overture With The Arts for a wonderful presentation. Each student was left with a message of equality, and the knowledge that each one of us has the power to implement change. Acceptance of us all as equals is the best path towards peace.
Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213