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Toronto District School Board

Screening with The Hon. Jean Augustine at CTS

Categories: News

The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement hosted a screening and conversation on November 30th of Steadfast: The Message and the Messenger which tells the story of Jean Augustine's journey from Happy Hill, on the small island nation of Grenada, to being the first Black woman elected to Canada's House of Commons and the first Black woman to serve in Canada's federal Cabinet. Central Technical School’s auditorium was bustling with more than 750 students from over 25 elementary and secondary schools across the district in attendance.

Following the film screening, student host Donielle from Delphi Secondary School moderated an intimate conversation with the Honorable Jean Augustine herself! This conversation focused on a journey through joy, success, challenge, and perseverance. Donielle noted that she “felt like a journalist…the Centre provides me with a space where I can be me, unapologetically, and that has helped me find my light.”

As the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement works to amplify the voice of Black students and community, Thursday’s program was an opportunity for us to share with the district undertold stories of Black Canadian history. Students learned about Jean Augustine's challenges to become an educator, her work with Toronto Housing Authority, her journey to be the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as the Member of Parliament from the Greater Toronto Area, and her landmark motion to designate February as Black History Month in Canada. Most importantly, the film shared the understanding that anyone regardless of the odds stacked against them, can succeed. Jean Augustine the role model, the activist, and the educator has set the tone for our Black students to become their own changemakers and trailblazers!

Reflecting on the day, Donielle shared that this experience will forever be a fond memory for her and “a reminder that [she] too can become someone who positively impacts the world.”

Pictured: The Honorable Jean Augustine with student host Donielle from Delphy Secondary School.