York Catholic schools celebrate Black History Month

The York Catholic District School Board is proud to celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February. Catholic schools across York Region will mark Black History Month with special events including visits from guest speakers, theatrical performances, morning reflections, African drumming workshops, school displays, and a variety of classroom learning activities.

Below is a sample of some of the Black History Month events taking place across the York Catholic District School Board.

Guinness World Record Setter to visit St. Brigid CES in Stouffville for Black History Month

To kick-off Black History Month, the students and staff of St. Brigid will attend an assembly featuring Duane (D.O.) Gibson. Gibson is a Guinness World Record setting rapper and published author who has inspired thousands of youth since 2001. In 2003 he set the record for the longest freestyle rap. Gibson has performed at over 1,000 schools, toured Canada, the USA, Asia, Europe and several of his music videos play on MuchMusic, including one where Drake made a cameo. As part of his presentation at St. Brigid he will speak about the importance of Black Canadian history and tell the story of Viola Desmond the women who will now be on the ten-dollar bill!  

Where

St. Brigid CES, 223 Millard St., Stouffville ON, L4A 5A1

When
Thursday, February 2, 2017, 12:30 p.m.
Contact
Maureen Sullivan, Principal, 905-642-5100

Mandela: Gifts from a Leader, a HOZA performance at St. Mary CES in King Township

St. Mary Catholic Elementary School in King's Nobleton community will showcase and celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela through a special theatrical presentation by HOZA, called Mandela: Gifts from a Leader. HOZA will be presenting two shows, one for JK – Grade 3 students, the second for Grade 4- 8 students on Tuesday, February 7th. Both shows will be a joyous celebration and deeply touching tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela. The show will encourage students to continue building on Mandela's legacy of truth and reconciliation, peace and justice.  

Where

St. Mary CES, 75 Greenside Drive, Nobleton, ON, L0G1N0

When
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 10:45 a.m., and 1:10 p.m.
Contact
Lori Piccoli. Principal, 905-859-3336

Sugar and Gold: The Story of the Underground Railroad in Canada at St. Mark CES in Stouffville

St. Mark CES will host a lively, 50-minute interactive performance that includes songs, slides, and storytelling to mark Black History Month. The presentation will tell the history of the Underground Railroad in Canada. This school performance by artists Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, has been seen by over 90,000 students across Canada in over the past ten years, and this is the final year the couple will present Sugar and Gold. Following the presentation there will be a short question and answer period.

Where
St. Mark CES, 333 Glad Park Ave., Stouffville, ON, L4E 1A4
When
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12:30 p.m.
Contact
Derm FitzPatrick, Principal, 905-640-2915

Guest Speaker, Nadine Williams, to speak to students at Our Lady of Peace CES in Maple

Nadine Williams, a poet and spoken word artist based in the GTA, will speak to students at Our Lady of Peace CES about her experiences as an immigrant child.

Where
Our Lady of Peace CES, 301 Barrhill Rd. Maple, ON, L6A 1J5
When

Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 1 p.m.

Contact
Anna Iafrate, 905-832-7080

From Slave to Saint presentation at St. Stephen CES in Woodbridge

In honour of Black History Month, St. Stephen CES has invited guest speaker Baba Williams to share his talent and his message with the staff, students and parent community. On February 7th, renowned drummer, storyteller and motivational speaker Babarinde Williams will present, From Slave to Saint (The Story of St Josephine Bakhita). This is a journey into Catholic history told through the mouth of a "Griot," which is an African historian and storyteller.  The presentation will be a profound lesson in virtue. It starts from the savannah grasslands of the Sudan, circa 1869, and ends at the convent of the Canossian sisters in Schio Italy in 1947. It is the story of an African child who went through the hard and devastating road of slavery to emerge victorious, perfected and beautified. As part of this presentation, students will bring this amazing story to life through the beating rhythm of over 120 drums!

Where
St. Stephen CES, 451 Napa Valley Ave. Woodbridge, ON, L4H 1Y8
When
Tuesday, February 7, 2017, 12:45 p.m.
Contact
Anna Barone, Principal or Catherine Luongo, Vice Principal, 905-893-7557

Loretta Penny to presents at Our Lady of Hope CES in Richmond Hill

Our Lady of Hope CES will welcome Loretta Penny, author and award-winning presenter, to share a Black History Month presentation with students.  Through a series of stories, Penny will engage students to experience the challenges of enslaved men, women, and children along the Underground Railroad. Students will be prompted to reflect on the Catholic virtues of courage, compassion, hope, unity, and perseverance during this presentation.   

Where
Our Lady of Hope CES, 80 Red Cardinal Trail, Richmond Hill, ON, L4E 4B8
When
Thursday, February 9, 2017, Call school for exact timing
Contact
Katherine Pellegrini, Principal or Lucie Rotundo, Vice Principal, 905-773-1383

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt at St. Gabriel the Archangel CES in Woodbidge

St. Gabriel the Archangel CES is proud to welcome a professional story teller from the Arts Express Literacy Storytelling Series, to present the powerful story of Clara, a seamstress in the "Big House" who makes a map to the Underground Railway and freedom on a quilt. This story has links to both literacy and social studies, and it will present concepts about the lives of slaves and the function of quilts by African-Americans. In this story the quilt is a route to freedom; however, the discussion of quilts will help students see the historical connection that we have with quilts, as well as the importance of quilts in personal family histories.  Presentations will be given throughout the day. Parents are welcome to attend.

Where
St. Gabriel the Archangel CES, 91 Fiori Drive, Woodbridge, ON, L4L 5S4
When
Friday, February 10, 2017, all day
Contact
Anna Provato, Principal, 905-856-4155

St. John XXIII CES in Unionville to welcome Juno-nominated Musician, Glenn Marais

St. John XXIII CES will celebrate Black History Month with a special musical performance by Juno-nominated singer/songwriter, Glenn Marais. Marais will also provide students and staff with a glance at the diverse and fascinating history of Black culture with a Canadian focus. His presentation will feature engaging visuals, powerful live music and interesting information on Black history.

Where
St. John XXIII CES, 125 Krieghoff Ave, Unionville, ON, L3R 1V8
When
Friday, February 10, 2017, 9:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Contact
Chris Mills, Principal, 905-477-3288

From Slave to Saint presentation at Good Shepherd CES in East Gwillimbury

Good Shepherd CES will welcome Guest Presenter, Babarinde Williams who will share the story of St. Josephine Bakihita in an engaging and dynamic way using hands-on activities and audition participation.  Through the use of various multimedia and drums, Babarinde will engage students in a performance that promises to deliver a powerful message.

Where
Good Shepherd CES, 19112 2nd Concession Rd, East Gwillimbury, ON, L9N 0H2
When

Friday, February 10, 2017, 9:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

Contact

Domenica Ferri-Violante 905-895-0303

St. Elizabeth Seton CES in Newmarket to welcome Musician, Njacko Backo

St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Elementary School will celebrate Black History Month by hosting an African Drumming presentation by Njacko Backo.  Students will have the opportunity to listen Backo as he tells stories that incorporate his drumming. From his early days as a marginalized youth in the village of Bazou, Backo has risen above circumstance to become a living testament to the transformative power of music. The school will also mark Black History month through book displays, morning announcements and recognition of historic figures and current role models through activities at the school.

Where
St. Elizabeth Seton CES, 960 Leslie Valley Dr., Newmarket, ON, L3Y 8B3
When
Friday, February 10, 2017, 1:30 p.m.
Contact
Fran Daly-Hutchinson, Principal, 905-853-0340

St. Emily CES in Woodbridge to welcome Storyteller and Poet, Nadine Williams

St. Emily Catholic Elementary School in Woodbridge will commemorate Black History Month by welcoming Storyteller, Author and Poet, Nadine Williams. Williams' presentation is inspired by her poem The Fabric of our Being. She will intrigue the St. Emily school community with her storytelling and poetic abilities, while addressing the significant contributions of African-Canadians have made in our society and the changing fabric of Canada, as we honour our country's 150th anniversary.

Where
St. Emily CES, 60 Vellore Woods, Woodbridge, ON, L4H 2K8
When
Tuesday, February 14, 2017, 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.
Contact
Anna Giustuzia, Vice- Principal, 905-303-4554

Mandela: Gifts from a Leader, a HOZA performance at St. Padre Pio in Woodbridge

St. Padre Pio Catholic Elementary School is proud to celebrate Black History Month by hosting two performances called Mandela: Gifts from a Leader by performance group, HOZA. The first performance is for Kindergarten to Grade 3 students, and the second is for Grade 4 to Grade 8 students. The performances will include age-appropriate information that will take students on a journey of truth, reconciliation, peace and justice through live music, songs, stories and dance.

Where
St.  Padre Pio, 770 Napa Valley, Woodbridge, ON, L4H 1X1
When

Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 8:45 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. & 10:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Contact
Mrs.  Lomuto-Corriero, 905-893-7082

Celebrating African-Canadian contributions at San Lorenzo Ruiz CES in Markham

San Lorenzo Ruiz CES is proud to invite the award-winning poet and author, Nadine Williams.  Through storytelling, poetry, and songs, Williams will encourage students to reflect on the many contributions African-Canadian have made in Canada. She will also present her poem, The Fabric of Our Being in celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary.

Where
San Lorenzo Ruiz CES, 840 Bur Oak Avenue, Markham, ON, L6E 0E1
When
Wednesday, February 15, 2017, Call school for timing of event
Contact
Diane Alberico, Principal, 905-202-2430

Harriet Tubman performances at St. Michael CES in Thornhill

St. Michael Catholic Academy will welcome actor, Leslie McCurdy to perform two shows for Black History Month based on Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad. Kindergarten – Grade 2 students will watch, Harriet is my Hero, which explores what makes Harriet Tubman a good heroine. Students will actively participate in re-creating some of the aspects of the life of Harriet Tubman through story theatre. 

Lesley McCurdy's second performance for Grade 3 – 8 students will offer a riveting performance of The Spirit of Harriet Tubman. While there are many plays about Harriet Tubman, the famous African-American abolitionist slave who escaped and led missions to rescue 70 enslaved family and friends, none share her entire life story like a visit with The Spirit of Harriet Tubman. McCurdy will invoke the spirit of Harriet Tubman as she portrays her life in the 1850s, and recreates stories about the Underground Railroad, using words said to have been Harriet Tubman's own.
Where
St. Michael Catholic Academy, 41 Simonston Blvd., Thornhill, ON, L3T 4R6
When
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Contact
Victoria Augustynek, Acting Principal, 905-889-4816

Things My Fore- Sisters Saw presentation at St. Kateri Tekakwitha CES in Markham

St. Kateri Tekakwitha CES will welcome Leslie McCurdy from Prologue to the Performing Arts to perform her one-woman play, Things My Fore-Sisters Saw, for the school's junior and intermediate students. This inspirational play highlights Black Canadian history through the experiences of four strong women: Marie-Joseph Angelique, a slave who lived in Montreal; Rose Fortune of Nova Scotia who is considered the first Police-woman in North America; Mary Ann Shadd, the first North American woman to publish and edit a newspaper; and Viola Desmond, who refused to give up a seat in a theatre to segregation.

Where
St. Kateri Tekakwitha CES, 230 Fincham Avenue, Markham, ON, L3P 4B5
When
Thursday, February 16, 2017, 1 p.m.
Contact
Jenny DiMaria, Principal, 905-741-4477

Black History Month Awards Ceremony at St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS in Aurora

St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS will hold several events and activities throughout the month of February to further develop awareness around diversity, inclusion and the power of perseverance. Black History Month celebrations at St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS will culminate with an awards ceremony which will highlight the efforts and contributions of students who have contributed to making the Aurora school more accepting, welcoming, safe and caring.  The awards ceremony will recognize nominated students as well as empower students to help end all forms of discrimination.

Where
St. Maximilian Kolbe CHS, 278 Wellington St. East, Aurora, ON, L4G 1J5
When
Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 8:45 a.m.
Contact
Danny DiLallo, Vice-Principal, 905-727-5652

Notable: The Story of Viola Desmond at Cardinal Carter CHS in Aurora

In celebration of Black History education, Cardinal Carter CHS will dedicate the week of February 27 -  March 3 to a variety of student led, Black history-related activities. The week will culminate with two assemblies featuring a dynamic production called Notable: The Story of Viola Desmond, aboutthe civil rights icon, Viola Desmond, who broke barriers and provided inspiration to all Canadians around social justice issues. Desmond will become the first Canadian woman to appear on a Canadian dollar bill, when she graces the front of the new Canadian $10 bill.

Where
Cardinal Carter CHS, 320 Bloomington Road West, Aurora, ON, L4G 0P9
When
Friday, March 3, 2017. 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Contact
Luisa Rocca, Vice-Principal, 905-727-2455

Mandela: Gifts from a Leader, a HOZA performance at Light of Christ CES in Aurora

In recognition of Black History Month, staff and student at Light of Christ will welcome the Hoza performance group for a very special presentation called Mandela: Gifts from a Leader. Through live music, song, story, and dance, students will learn about the struggles of Nelson Mandela in Apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela gifted us with a model of leadership, character, courage, and action when faced with abuse of power by a racist establishment.

Where
Light of Christ CES, 290 McClellan Way, Aurora, ON, L4G 6P3
When
Monday, March 8, 2017, 1:15 p.m.
Contact
Travis MacDonald, Principal, 905-727-5400

Drumming workshops at St. Cecilia CES in Vaughan

To complement a variety of Black history themed lessons and opportunities for reflection, a number of school-wide learning experiences have been set for the month at St. Cecilia that will allow students to explore the significant contributions that Black people have made throughout history. Among these events includes a drumming workshop by Mr. Baba Williams and his Drums Et Al for the school's Kindergarten - Grade 2 students, and an 'I Am You' Assembly for the Grade 3 - 8 students. These interactive and engaging opportunities will combine music, philosophy, history, drumming, chanting, singing and media and inspire students to become leaders in conflict resolution.

Where
St. Cecilia CES, 300 Peter Rupert Ave., Maple, ON, L6A 4P3
When
Friday, March 24, 2017, Call school for exact timing
Contact
Fabio Nardo, Principal or Tina Mancini, Vice Principal, 289-304-0725

African Dance Performance by DOAHL Dance Academy at St. Brendan CES in Stouffville

St. Brendan Catholic Elementary School in Stouffville will be hosting an upbeat African Dance Performance by DOAHL Dance Academy for Black History Month. This performance will engage and educate students about the history of African Dance.

In Africa, dance is a means of marking life experiences, encouraging abundant crops, honoring kings and queens, celebrating weddings, marking rites of passage, and other ceremonial occasions. It communicates emotions, help strengthen the bonds between people and simply brings everyone together as a community. DOAHL Dance Academy takes pride in helping preserve and share the culture and traditions of African dance that helps educate and keep the history alive. It is their joy to uplift through entertainment. DOAHL has been working with schools across Ontario for over a decade and are well known for their highly engaging and interactive style with their presentations which end up leaving students informed, empowered and wanting more. DOAHL will perform historical, social, and ritualistic dance forms. They will dance you through the rich tapestry of black history; take you on a journey through time accompanied by music, dance, visual and spoken word. It promises to be a powerful tribute to Black History so get ready to journey through history with the Clapping of hands, stamping of feet, and most of all singing to create the rhythmic music of African Dance!!

Where
St. Brendan CES , 751 Hoover Park Dr., Whitchurch-Stouffville, ON, L4A 0P8
When
Friday, February 24th, 2017 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Contact
Christy Joseph-Vermette, Grade Two Teacher (905) 642-6728