Press Releases


EMSB SCHOOLS CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY MONTH

MONTREAL, FEBRUARY 22, 2016  – Schools across the English Montreal School Board celebrated Black History Month with a variety of activities.

The central focus and purpose our presentations and events is to promote understanding of other racial and cultural groups, highlighting the common elements that we as humans share,” said Veronica D’Agata, Spiritual and Community Animator. “We are more alike than different. We all smile in the same language. We look for the content of the others heart, not the colour of their skin. In promoting understanding the Spiritual and Community Animation Service helps our students bring out the best in themselves and recognize the positive qualities of others.”

Events included:

St-Gabriel Elementary:

Students enjoyed a fantastic presentation by Kotou Danse. This group is originally from the Ivory Coast and brought with them several different types of African drums and percussion instruments. Students learned how the drums were used as a means of communication in Africa. The group played traditional songs from their country along with African singing and dancing. Both students and teachers then participated in African dance choreography.

James Lyng and Royal Vale High Schools:

Both schools welcomed back Overture with the Arts. This year, their show titled “Words, Music, and Power” had the goal of unifying the community through intercultural understanding. The guest speaker, Omari Newton, gave a history presentation that included snippets of historical music recordings from legendary artists of the African Diaspora, as well as performances of original spoken word pieces, and excerpts from impactful historical speeches.

St. Monica and Royal Vale Elementary Schools:

Both schools had an interactive Gumboots performance lead by choreographer and percussionist, Just Aïssi. Students learned about the history of this dance and its South African roots, as well as gaining an appreciation of other African dance styles.

Nesbitt Elementary School:

Students heard from Citizenship Judge Justice Veronica Johnson. Johnson spoke to the students about the importance of having dreams by relaying her life-story. They were entertained by So You Think You Can Dance finalist Justin Jackson and the Coronation Elementary School Steel Pan Band.

Rosemount High School:

Students heard from Global Montreal anchor and Royal West alumnus Elysia Bryan-Baynes and were entertained by So You Think You Can Dance finalist Justin Jackson, the Coronation Elementary School Steel Pan Band and a dance performance from L’Academie De Danse De Montreal.

Willingdon and Merton Elementary Schools:

Classes were given a presentation about Ruby Bridges, while older groups learned about slavery and the civil rights movement.  The story of Viola Desmond was also taught, ensuring that students understood the injustices that also existed in Canada. 

Coronation Elementary School:

Classes were given a presentation about Ruby Bridges, while the older groups learned about slavery and the civil rights movement.  The story of Viola Desmond was also taught, ensuring that students understood the injustices that also existed in Canada. Additionally, there was a school-wide assembly that allowed for each class to participate through the performance of dances, songs and poems. The school’s Steel Pan Band also preformed as well as Fa Sisoko, who performed Senegali Ji.

Marymount Academy International:

In-class discussions were held across all grade levels. The school also welcomed the Black Theater Workshop to perform a play.

Cedarcrest Elementary School and Michelangelo International Academy:

The Sulapan Steel Pan Band performed for the whole school. Students enjoyed a dynamic interactive musical performance, following which; teachers and students participated in the fun as they were taught how to play the steel pans.

Parkdale Elementary School: 

Dwayne Linton, a behavior technician at Parkdale Elementary inspired students and staff with his personal journey and struggles as a young boy with learning disabilities who was bullied to a successful self taught singer, songwriter and piano player. 

Gardenview Elementary School:

In class, students travelled back to 1860 to follow a young slave as he flees a Kentucky plantation for Canada along the Underground Railroad.

John Paul I High School:

The school invited the Black Theatre Workshop to perform “Binti’s Journey.” The play addressed the stigma and misconceptions of an HIV diagnosis through the story of a young Malawian girl named Binti. Additionally, a school wide assembly was held featuring the Coronation Steel Pan Band and Actor/Performer Michael Farkas.

Laurier MacDonald High School:

The school invited the Black Theatre Workshop to perform “Binti’s Journey” as well as held in-class presentations. The play addressed the stigma and misconceptions of an HIV diagnosis through the story of a young Malawian girl named Binti.

Lester B Pearson High School:

The school invited the Black Theatre Workshop to perform “Binti’s Journey” as well as held in-class presentations. The play addressed the stigma and misconceptions of an HIV diagnosis through the story of a young Malawian girl named Binti.

Leonardo da Vinci Academy and Pierre de Coubertin Elementary School: Sonia Huggins, a teacher, a dancer and a storyteller visited the school. Huggins is passionate about sharing the story of the Black experience: its history, its role models, its achievements.

John F. Kennedy High School:

The school observed Black History Month through educational activities and a celebration of culture. Organized by Spiritual and Community Animator Aaron Durocher, Behaviour Technician Susan Coleston, Cafeteria Manager Jennifer Olders and Principal Mr. Vitantonio, the celebration began in the Caribbean. Students and staff were treated to a wonderful jerk chicken lunch while they enjoyed beautiful steel pan music performed by Coronation Elementary School and Salah’s Steel Pan Academy. Next the student body was off to the African continent, as the Black Theatre Workshop performed their play Binti’s Journey. The play addressed the stigma and misconceptions of an HIV diagnosis through the story of a young Malawian girl named Binti.

Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School:

Students celebrated Black History Month by inviting Raymond Harewood and his band to perform Caribbean music. Organized by Spiritual and Community Animator Aaron Durocher and Principal Anna Sanalitro, students were active participants in the performance as were taught Caribbean style dancing. 

Carlyle International School:

Every grade chose a person of honour that related to their current Line of Inquiry. Examples: Grade One’s unit of inquiry was “Out of This World” so they chose Ron McNair, an astronaut. Grade Five’s unit of inquiry was “Legends and Folktales” so they chose the legend of John Henry, a steel driving man. Students spent the first week learning details about each grade’s Person of Honour. Following which, each grade chose the method they wished to present their person of honour to the school and perfected it with lots of practice and hard work.

At a school-wide assembly at the end of the month, every grade presented their person of honour through various means: music, dance, skit, or movie. To close the assembly the entire school joined in song: a rendition of “Free at Last” led by Carlyle’s music teacher Mr. Radu.

LaurenHill Academy:

A Black History Month Committee of students and teachers was formed on both the Junior and Senior Campus.

Senior Campus: Various activities were held including but not limited to: a homeroom trivia competition, a weekly dance workshop led by students with a performance at the end of the month, a cornrow workshop as well as a talent showcase.

Junior Campus: Students watched the film 42, participated in a month long Quilt Code Scavenger Hunt, experienced a Gum Boot workshop in Phys Ed, a Spoken Word workshop in Drama and a Breakdancing workshop in Dance.

Both campuses celebrated the end of the month with a Taste of the Islands event that included Caribbean food, music, and décor with opportunities to dance and enjoy various cultures.

Roslyn School:

In-class programming focused on Black History heroes. The heroes are selected as character illustrations of the choices to respond with courage, respect and dignity in spite of their difficult and often grave circumstances.  The class discussions focused on eliminating bullying, life-giving decisions and reflections on what it is to be human and the power that we have. Both Canadian and American heroes were featured, depending on the grade level and impact of the story.

Elizabeth Ballantyne Elementary School:

The school welcomed a Steel Pan Band performance Additionally, Otis Delaney, Principal of Elizabeth Ballantyne, visited a number of classes and spoke about Black History at the school.

In-class programming focused on Black History heroes. The heroes are selected as character illustrations of the choices to respond with courage, respect and dignity in spite of their difficult and often grave circumstances.  The class discussions focused on eliminating bullying, life-giving decisions and reflections on what it is to be human and the power that we have. Both Canadian and American heroes were featured, depending on the grade level and impact of the story.

Westmount Park Elementary School:

Black History Month was the focus of their February House assembly. Students were divided into their houses and listened to stories and videos about various key Black History figures including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Barak Obama.  Following the presentations, they made hand and feet cutouts to be part of “diversi-tree” displays where children expressed their hopes and messages for a world of fairness and opportunity for all.

In-class programming focused on Black History heroes. The heroes are selected as character illustrations of the choices to respond with courage, respect and dignity in spite of their difficult and often grave circumstances.  The class discussions focused on eliminating bullying, life-giving decisions and reflections on what it is to be human and the power that we have. Both Canadian and American heroes were featured, depending on the grade level and impact of the story.
  
Hampstead School:

The focus of Black History Month activities was on the lives of Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was accomplished through story-telling, interactive power point presentations, as well as multimedia presentations. A school-wide bulletin board was created to emphasize the key aspects of and figures in the struggle for equality, as well as foster ideas to create everlasting equality and peace. Students were sensitized to the struggle, and empowered to see that each person can play a role in change.

Edinburgh School:

The focus of Black History Month activities was on the lives of Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This was accomplished through story-telling, interactive power point presentations, as well as multimedia presentations.  Senior grades were also introduced to the story of Viola Desmond, as well as other important figures in Canadian Black History.  A school wide assembly was held featuring So You Think You Can Dance finalist Justin Jackson. Students were sensitized to the struggle and empowered to see that each person can play a role in change.

Mile End School:  

The focus of Black History Month activities was on the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali, as well as an introduction to significant Canadian black history events. Students were sensitized to the struggle and empowered to see that each person can play a role in change.

John Grant High School:

 

The focus of Black History Month activities was on the lives of Ruby Bridges, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Muhammad Ali. Students were also introduced to significant events in the Canadian Black History. This was accomplished through story-telling, interactive power point presentations, as well as multimedia presentations. Students were sensitized to the struggle and empowered to see that each person can play a role in change.

Royal West Academy: 

The focus of Black History Month activities was on the key figures in the struggle for equality in both Canada and the United States. A Canadian Black History Month bulletin board was displayed.  Students were also engaged in a Black History multimedia presentation, as well as inspirational Black History quotes were included in the student’s daily bulletin as a means for reflection.  The emphasis of the month was on empowering the students to show appreciation for those who struggled and link this to on-going struggles today.  Each student was reminded that although much has been achieved, the world still needs more peace and equality.



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca