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Significant Indigenous Historical Figures


June 17th, 2021


By: NAC20-02, Quad 4

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Check out this presentation of significant Indigenous historical figures at this link!

Indigenous Studies Playlist
June 17th, 2021
By: NAC20-02, Quad 4
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Check out this presentation of Indigenous music artists at this link!

What We NEED You to Know - 2SLGBTQ+ Community

June 17, 2021

By: Anna C-J

 A list of things we, members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community need you to know. Written by Anna C-J (she/they, queer), but using input from various 2SLGBTQ+ people. 


  1. Queer History. Learn about Queer Liberation. Learn trans history - worldwide. Learn about queerness in non-western cultures. Learn about how queer groups have been involved in other movements - not just our own queer rights/liberation movements! Understand how queer history tied into so many efforts for justice on various issues. Also learn about queer history on the land you live - before and during colonization (as colonization here is still ongoing). Learn about The Fruit Machine, a purge of gay Canadians in public services from the 1950s-1960s.


    2.a) More people are coming out now because it is safer to do so than before in certain places  - not because our generation

      is “more gay” or “brainwashed into being queer”. There have been many non-cisgender and non-heterosexual people,

      since humans have existed, but in many cultures (like the one we live in), it was not ok to be so, so people kept quiet about

      who they were. We are not “more gay”, we are less afraid than queers used to be.


    2.b) That being said, being ourselves is still dangerous. If our identities are obvious and we choose to live the way we want

       to, we are scared. Hate crimes agaisnt 2SLGBTQ+ people are constant - this includes harrassment, violnece and murder. In

       2020 alone, it is calculated that 350+ transgender women were killed - due to transphobic hate crimes. So yes, it might be

       easier to come out now, but we are still not free or able to live our fullest queer lives.


    3. We have a lot of internal struggles that you don’t see. Figuring out, accepting and loving our gender identities and

        sexualities in a world that centers cisgendered and heterosexual people is confusing and frustrating. We go through a lot

        of anger and sadness trying to determine who we are and what that means for our place in society. Then, coming out is

        emotionally draining and fear provoking, as well as something we have to do multiple times within our lives - as everyone

        is automatically assumed to be cis and straight. 

     4. Stop sexualizing us. Us trying to live our lives and is not “hot”. We exist for ourselves, not to fulfill your fetishes. Society

         does the weird trick of marginalizing people yet also branding them as desirable and using them in fantasies. Fetishzing

         us is uncomfortable and not even close to the same thing as respecting us.


     5. We aren’t predators. No, we aren’t staring at you in the “sex specific” changeroom. No, we don’t want to be with all of

         our same-gender friends. No, we aren’t hitting on you even though we know you’re straight. No, we aren’t violent serial

         killers. These are many of the stereotypes portrayed in the media, and through our everyday language. Being non-cis

         and/or non-straight does not make us harmful..why would it?

CovEid 2021
May 21, 2021
By: Zeynab Ahmed, Grade 12

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Hijri calendar, also known as the Islamic calendar, where Muslims all around the world partake in fasting. Ramadan is the month where Muslims believe Allah sent down the initial revelations of the Holy Quran [Islamic scripture] to prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Fasting is when Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from dawn to sunset for approximately 30 days. Fasting is one of the five fundamental principles of Islam, and which all Muslims believe is an essential and obligatory atonement to be close with God (Allah). Ramadan is a very special time for followers of Islam, as it is a blessed month where not only fast but communal prayer (ṣalāt) in the mosque, charity, introspection, and reading the Quran are all vital practices for increasing one’s steadfastness with Allah [SWT]. One of the frequent misconceptions of Ramadan is that Muslims fast to feel for the less fortunate, while this, as the health benefits of fasting, are the outcomes; it is not the initial intention of the month. Fasting is an act of worship prescribed by Allah for Muslims to increase their god-consciousness. Along with not eating or drinking, Muslims also refrain from bad language, impure thoughts, and many other commodities that may interfere with self-restraint. Iftar is when those observing fast will break their fast with traditionally a date, and/or water and milk, then pray Maghrib (sunset prayer) with their family and friends. Tarawih prayer follows after breaking fast and praying Maghrib and normally the majority of people participating in Ramadan will gather in the mosques to pray in congregation. Tarawih prayer is when the entire Quran may be recited over the course of the month. 


At the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr follows and is a time of celebration and a time to mark the end of fasting. Eid is when families and friends will all come together to celebrate, pray, and thank God for allowing them to see another Ramadan. In most communities Eid is quite an elaborate time, everyone will dress in their best clothes, lots of delicious treats are made, gifts are exchanged and everyone comes together to pray in the mosques. 


Of course, Ramadan 2021 was much different. Living in a COVID-19 pandemic, adjustments had to be made for many activities, Ramadan and Eid being one. Personally, Ramadan during lockdown was extremely difficult, it took a lot of self-determination and motivation to complete the month with success. Community is a huge part of Ramadan and not being able to gather with friends and family made this time all the more challenging. I am fortunate to have my parents and siblings to celebrate with, while many others may have not been able to. Although this month came with many obstacles, remaining devoted in my worship made it all worth the while. I also was lucky enough to have amazing friends who would consistently called and lifted me up when I was feeling down, and who also fasted a day with me, which we had iftar together virtually. 


Reflecting on Ramadan 2021, I am more than blessed and thankful for all the blessings God has given me. This month was a time of prayer, reflection, and restraint for myself and many others and I am grateful to be sharing this with Knightwatch.

Mental Health Week in Canada
May 21, 2021
By: Nina Beck, Grade 10

High schools trying to be mindful of their students' mental health is funny to me because no matter how many ted talks they show us, counsellors they offer, workshops they hold, we will be mentally ill. We’re a bunch of hormonal teenagers, jammed in a building or in front of a computer for 6 hours a day, five days a week, having information thrown at us, while sleep deprived and running on empty.

I know that teachers are just doing their jobs, and there are plenty of valuable things we’re learning, but it’s unbelievably draining. It’s so much to exist as a teenager, and no matter how “woke” or “with it” adults are, they don’t get it. They weren’t raised in the same society we were. Every teenager feels an intense burden, no matter when they were growing up, but we’re the first wave of all internet teens. We are having a fundamentally different experience of our teen years, not to mention we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. We’re going to stay mentally ill and I don’t believe there’s much changing that. Meditating isn’t going to cure my anxiety, positive self talk isn’t going to cure my depression. We live a society that feeds off of the always grinding lifestyle. 

To have teenagers not be mentally ill, we need to dismantle this harmful capitalist structure of unhealthy work life balances. We need to start having conversations surrounding all sorts of mental health issues, no matter how uncomfortable, the stigma needs to be broken. Our healthcare system needs to include mental health services just as much as physical health services. We need to stop gatekeeping therapy and other mental health services for the wealthy. We need systemic change that can only be achieved over generations. That's how our community can help, not infographics on screen usage. The systems upheld in our society are broken. Your empty promises to aid in our mental health crisis is not going to help. All our community can do now is start trying to fix these systems because it’s not going to happen until today’s teenagers are long out of the public education system. We won’t get to have the right support in our teenage years, but maybe those who come after us will.

For me, being Jewish means...
May 21, 2021
By: Saul Felman, Grade 10

*Note : My experiences as a jew are connected with my ashkenazi heritage, and certain things I say are concerned with ashkenazi culture, although the word jewish is used instead for rhythm and consistency. 


For me, being jewish means challah

It means chicken soup with kenedlekh

It means my Bubby’s potato knishes


For me being jewish means Fiddler on the Roof

It means learning Yiddish

It means saying “ch”, “oy!”, “gevalt!” and “mazel tov!”


For me being jewish means Shabbat

It means stopping to appreciate life every Friday night

It means saying the blessings, and harmonizing them with my family


For me, being jewish means wearing my Zaidy’s chai

It means being obsessed with learning how to write the aleph-beys

And writing in it, on napkins and on scrap paper,

 Most likely making many spelling errors


For me, being jewish means bagels

It means smoked meat, and dill pickles

It means latkes, matzah, hamantaschen, and apples in honey


For me, being jewish means candles

It means debating, singing and conversing

It means family


For me, being jewish means culture

It means holidays

It means musical theatre


For me, being jewish means being a miracle

It means surviving 

It means strength


It is my elter-bubbies and elter-zaidies fleeing Poland and Russia

Fleeing the hatred, fleeing the violence

It means getting to Montreal at the right time

It means some of my relatives didn’t


For me, being jewish means being confused

It means not really knowing what being jewish means

It means friends not really understanding

It means the world not really understanding


It means feeling invisible

It means feeling misunderstood

It means refusing to let my language, my culture, my voice, be lost


It means being uneasy around money

It means cartoon villains looking like my family members

It means “to bargain with someone in a miserly or petty way”


It means friends and classmates joking about Nazis

And a message about hating jews written on the walls of the auditorium

It means being scared when in a jewish gathering space


For me being jewish means being told that “I’m not really oppressed, because jews are rich”

It means having to remind myself that I’m not evil


For me being jewish means being advised to not talk about being jewish 

It means not wanting to talk about being jewish

It means having to talk about being jewish


But most of all it means celebrating my heritage

It means celebrating our contributions to art, to science, to culture

It means celebrating the existence of me and my family


For me, being jewish means helping others

It means standing up for others

It means listening to others 


For me, being jewish means warmth

It means love

And it means so much more


My Top 5 Things (currently)
May 21, 2021
By: Gabby Mosurinjohn-Lockey, Grade 12


  1. Juno

  2. Parasite 

  3. The Way Way Back

  4. But I’m a Cheerleader

  5. Little Miss Sunshine 


TV Shows:

  1. The Wilds

  2. Alice in Borderland

  3. Derry Girls 

  4. The Good Place

  5. Made for Love


Books/Graphic Novels:

  1. The House in the Cerulean Sea, T.J. Klune

  2. This One Summer, Mariko Tamaki

  3. Heartstopper, Alice Oseman

  4. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

  5. Wilder Girls, Rory Power

Current Favourite Songs
May 21, 2021
By: Gabby Mosurinjohn-Lockey, Grade 12


Current Favourite Songs


Here are some of the songs I currently like, in no particular order.


Two Slow Dancers - Mitski

good 4 u - Olivia Rodrigo

Not a Love Song - Mariah the Scientist 

It’s Alright - Mother Mother

Marceline - WILLOW

august - Taylor Swift

Too Close - Sir Chloe

Monsoon - Hippo Campus


Andromeda - Weyes Blood

t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l - WILLOW

Last Words of a Shooting Star - Mitski 

Cherry Wine - Hozier

Kill V. Maim - Grimes

mirrored heart - FKA twigs

7 Things People with Mental Health Issues Are Not

May 21, 2021

By: Anna Carsley-Jones, Grade 12

Prompt #2: May 3rd-9th is Mental Health Week in Canada. We encourage all creations related to this topic. For example, how can our school community or society as a whole better support mental health? 


I am writing this as someone who deals with depression, an eating disorder (ED) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and who has had anxiety issues in the past.  These points address misconceptions about people with mental illnesses that ingrained in all if not most of us. We, myself included, are all guilty of thinking these things but we must unlearn them to create a safer place for everyone.


 1. Weak.  Dealing with mental health issues generally means that someone “struggles” and we make the automatic correlation between struggling and being weak.  Our society also has a tendency to blame victims and  the treatment of mentally ill people is a perfect example of that. It is expected that if someone is dealing with a mental illness they must not be strong enough to deal with the weight of the world, but this belief is incredibly harmful and isolating.. Various factors lead to mental illnesses and it is in no way reflective of how mentally strong someone may be. In fact, if anything, mentally ill people must be extremely strong because they are expected to carry on with regular tasks and to fill their role in society even when their brain is pitted against them.


 2.  Failures.  Just as being perceived as weak, individuals  with mental health issues have been quick to be labelled as useless. Over many generations our society has developed and upheld an idea of what is normal and people with mental health issues fall outside of this concept. We are considered outliers and labelled as useless or lost causes, which creates grounds for oppression within many systems, and those who already hold marginalized identities (for example: being racialized, physically disabled, poor, etc.) will face this isolation even more. All people are valuable and worthy of respect. Those with mental health issues should always be reminded of this, instead of told but they are failed people.


3. Looking for pity.  When mentally ill people speak about being unwell either just to family and friends, to medical professionals or publicly, we are often accused of trying to play a “pity card''. This inhibits mentally ill people from speaking their truth. When an individual with mental health issues is speaking about the topic of their illness(es) or of mental health issues in general, it is almost always because they either: a) want to bring attention to the issue, b) want others to feel less alone or c) both. When we assume someone speaking about their issues has the intent of gaining sympathy from others we push them into being quiet. And the silence of mentally ill people extends society's stigma of mental illness - causing us to continue to struggle and be society's outliers. I know from personal experience that hearing other mentally ill people speak on behalf of their struggles has helped me with my own voice regarding my mental health issues and had those people been shamed enough into being quiet I wouldn't be here right now feeling empowered enough to write this article. So next time you see someone speaking about mental health issues, or any of their issues for that matter, redirect your thinking from “oh, they’re trying to get attention” to “wow, that takes a lot of courage to do in a society that sweeps problems under the rug”.


4. Lying. I wish that I didn't have to write this, but sadly there are still many people who believe that those struggling with mental illness are making it up. Just like accusing someone of trying to get pity, accusing someone of lying about their symptoms will only create shame and isolation. Once again this is an instinct ingrained in us by our society, but we must try to fight the urge to question someone and instead give them the benefit of the doubt and listen to them. We may not be able to understand or relate to someone's unique struggles but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't hear them and be there for them.


5. Dangerous. I'm sure we can all think of an event we've seen in the news that involved a mentally ill person becoming violent or murderous. These things do happen, but the fear of mentally ill people is very much an exaggeration of reality. A quick internet search will show you that studies estimate 25%-50% (percentage depends on the study) of people who are mentally ill at some point in their lives - and the majority of those people are not dangerous.  Mentally ill people are not monsters and they are certainly not the (mis)representation of “Psychopaths” that we see in movies, and fearing them only causes harm. So, the next time that we see someone on the street who very visibly has a mental illness, let's not cross the road. Let's not let the societal fear of mentally ill people cause us to avoid those who are struggling. Chances are, that mentally ill person on the street isn't going to cause us any harm and we are actually the ones causing harm to them, shoving  our fear in their faces. And if you are concerned about mentally ill people being violent or dangerous, consider why the possibility of them being violent in the first place might be. Does our society do an adequate job supporting those who are struggling? Because if we did I'm quite sure we would see way less, if any, stories in the news about violence committed by mentally ill individuals.


6. Burdens. There is a common misconception that mentally ill people are hard to get along with, and difficult to be in any kind of relationship with. But this is extremely unfair to assume of us and discouraging. Mentally ill people are capable of everything that everyone else is, including upholding friendships and relationships. We should not be belittled and made to feel as though we're difficult and unwanted. We are loving and lovable, and anyone who says different has clearly not had a true relationship with a mentally ill person.


7. Self absorbed. It is very common among people with eating disorders to be described as vain - primarily because eating disorders are often associated with body image and self-esteem. Although these factors are certainly related to eating disorders, it is false that someone struggling with their body image chooses to develop an ED. The idea that people with eating disorders, or any mental illnesses, are self-obsessed pushes the notion that we have chosen to have a mental illness. Having a mental illness is not a choice and if it was, no one would choose it. To assume that someone struggling with their mental health and speaking openly about it is vain only perpetuates more stigma and shuts down important conversations.

Spring Break Recommendations
April 28, 2021
By: Gabby Mosurinjohn-Lockey, Grade 12

Over the spring break, I decided to rewatch one of my all-time favourite movies. Classified as a feminist horror film, Jennifer’s Body, starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, used to be criminally underrated. This was mainly because of the marketing when it first came out; the directors wanted the audience of the movie to be young teenage girls (because they could relate to the main characters, Jennifer and Needy), but the posters were made to promote the film to straight males by sexualizing Megan Fox - and although Megan is hot, that wasn't the point of the movie and is degrading. By now the movie is seen as a cult classic which is great, as it is getting the recognition it deserves.


In the film Megan Fox plays Jennifer, a teenage girl who ends up being sacrificed by an indie band so they can make a deal with the devil and become famous; the twist, Jennifer needed to be a virgin for the sacrifice to work and she wasn’t. Because of this, she basically becomes a demon who in order to be beautiful and feel good needs to eat people (teenage boys). Needy, played by Amanda Seyfried, is Jennifer’s best friend and slowly begins to realize something is wrong with Jennifer. While touching on the fact that virginity is a social construct, the film shows female friendships through a true lens; it shows both the fun and the jealousy that comes with growing up. It is also obvious that Jennifer and Needy have feelings for each other, and perhaps if the film is ever remade this will be shown to a bigger extent. Overall I can't recommend this movie enough!

March 24, 2021
By: Miriam Felman
View the full article at this link:

March 11th, 2021 marked Canada’s first National Day of Observance to commemorate the impacts of COVID-19, as well as the one-year anniversary of the virus being declared a pandemic. COVID-19 was the first virus to acquire pandemic status since the Spanish Flu in 1918, over 100 years ago, and many people around the world have been severely affected by it over the past year. Over 900 000 Canadians have tested positive for the virus and over 20 000 have lost their lives. The events of this past year have permanently altered adolescents’ outlook on life, and as we face this uncertain future head-on, there is value in taking time to look back and reflect. 

From an Ontario high school student’s perspective, Friday, March 13th, 2020 was the day it all began. It had been announced the day before that March break was being extended by two weeks, and we all came to school with varied emotions, and a doom-like sense that we were living through something big. Little did we know, it would be the last in-person school day until September, and those in grade 12 would never return again, save for dropping by to return and pick up items. 

The first lockdown period last spring was a troubling and uncertain time, but 50% of survey participants from Nepean High School say they feel a sense of nostalgia for those times. “I miss how relaxed I was,” one student said. “There was a lot less pressure on me.” Students spent their time on social media, doing school work, talking to friends, going on walks, watching shows, playing games with family, being creative, and trying out new recipes, to name a few activities mentioned in our survey. One student recalls the popular dalgona coffee trend, also known as whipped coffee. Social media played a large role in helping teens avoid boredom and stay connected, with many people posting on the increasingly popular video sharing app, TikTok, as well as Instagram and Snapchat. Social media sites also became notable platforms for activism when the murder of George Floyd launched a new era of Black Lives Matter protests and anti-racist activism. 

Many teens experienced a decline in their mental health since the pandemic began, due to being isolated from their peers, being stuck with toxic family members, anxiety over the state of the world, feelings of hopelessness for the future, and several other factors. For many, extracurricular activities such as sports, band, or theatre, provided a sense of identity that was lost when these activities were put on hold. Meanwhile, some found it beneficial to slow down and reconnect with themselves and their families. No matter how well adolescents are coping with the pandemic, it is indisputable that Generation Z is missing out on crucial aspects of our short-lived adolescence or young adulthood. Whether it’s high school graduation, first year university classes and campus life, driving tests, long-anticipated sports tournaments or arts performances, or simply going out with friends, these losses are not always easy to deal with. The best way to cope seems to be trying not to dwell on the losses, or the way things “should have been”. We need to accept the way things are, and make the most of it. 



March 24, 2021

By: The Intersectional Feminism Alliance (@weareifa on Instagram)

International Women’s Day, which took place on March 8th, is a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women past and present. In celebration of this, the Intersectional Feminism Alliance (IFA) has compiled a diverse rapport of accomplished women deserving of recognition.























































































Link to Periodic Table of Black Canadian History:

February 26, 2021


By: Grade 12 English Students

Answers (to 2 questions) from different Grade 12 English students, after looking at the Periodic Table of Black Canadian History and reflecting on the information they learned.

Question 1: What information on the table surprised you?


The thing that surprised me the most is how few people I knew on the table. Most of the people whom I recognized were either alive more recently, or professional athletes. This is representative of not only my own failure to educate myself on Canadian Black History, but also our country's failure to provide the resources for both myself and my peers to do so. In the one compulsory history class that I took in Grade 10, we spent entire units speaking of only white people and their impact on Canada. The few exceptions were small textbook articles that we were simply told to spend five minutes reading and never discussed as a class. If there is to truly be equity and equality with respect to the treatment of Black Canadians, then we need to educate Canadian youth about the successes of Black Canadians, and the misdeeds of White Canadians throughout history. Furthermore, the individual impact that each member of society has must also be addressed. My poor knowledge of Black success in Canada can also be attributed to my own complacency in a system that benefits me for the colour of my skin. A vast majority of the media I consume is made by White people for White audiences. If I want to do my part in fighting racism and help lift the voices of Black creators, I need to change my point of view and listen.   


The information that surprised me the most on the table was that Willie O'ree was the first Black hockey player to play a game in the NHL in 1958. I know about Willie O'ree, but I never knew the year he played his first game. During 1958, there was still large amounts of racism and prejudice toward black people. The fact that he had the courage to step up and play is truly inspiring. He had a great career and will have his jersey number retired in 2021. He changed the NHL forever and carved a path for black people in sports and more specifically hockey. Black NHL players who followed his footsteps include PK Subban, Jarome Iginla, Dustin Byfulgien, Wayne Simmonds, Evander Kane and many more. 


I was surprised how few of the names I recognized. As a Canadian citizen I should be aware of these public figures and their stories. I feel like this also goes to show that the education system should take more time to teach students about Black Canadian heroes. I was pleasantly surprised at the variation of different public figures from all different industries and forms of art. The Periodic Table features everyone from professional athletes to civil rights activists to film directors. It’s important that Black Canadian heroes from all different forms of artistic expression get the recognition that they deserve. Specifically, I was aware of Director X’s work directing music videos for Drake and Kendrick Lamar, but I was surprised to hear that he is Canadian. 


A lot of the information that surprised me was the dates of the accomplishments. I found it very unsettling how recent these accomplishments were and how we sometimes only recognized these amazing people as trailblazers and accomplished in the last 20-30 years or sometimes only after they die. It shocked me how many firsts (which were mainly the people I focused on) where after the 1970s, it was shocking really. For example I looked into Lincoln Alexander whom we also looked at in class and many of his accomplishments and first where after 1970. From other research knowing that the 70s was when black live matter and equality really started to hit the forefront of media among other amazing movements this really put into perspective for me how recent these accomplishments are. I also found that some of the other people recognized on the table also were from around the same time period as Lincoln Alexander and that after that the power of the movements and recognitions of black people's accomplishments really grew. I found that a lot of the information in the table was very inspiring as well.


What surprises me the most about this table is the amount of information that I did not know. Honestly I only knew the stories of a few of these influential Black Canadians. All these stories deserve to be told so how is it that in grade 12 I only know a few. This is partly my own fault but also the fault of the lack of Black History taught in schools. It shouldn't be reserved for one month, Black history should be taught throughout the year. Seeing this periodic table makes it clear that the success of Black People in Canada is not being celebrated nearly as much as it should. Reading about all their accomplishments and realizing that they are disproportionately talked about in classrooms or the media is really a shame. As you mentioned it is also surprising that there is no category dedicated to the science field considering it is a periodic table this is ironic. It also makes you wonder who decided which fields were important enough to make it on the table and why others didn't make the cut. There are definitely so many other stories that need to be told but aren't included on this table, but who decides which are deemed the most important? 


The information that I found surprising was surprising in a really good way. Just because of our history I disappointingly thought the first black person in Canada would have been a slave. I was wrong. Mathieu Da Costa is believed to be the first black person to touch Canadian grounds. He was an interpreter traveling to Canada, most likely with Pierre Dugua de Mons and Samuel de Champlain.


The information in the periodic table did not surprise me, as much as the fact that I have never heard of most of the names in my reading. I came across many awarded authors, a few I have heard of, activists and politicians. I was surprised that I have never heard of Jean Augustine, the first Black female member of parliament who declared Black history month federally to be in february. I was also surprised that I was not aware that the few people whose names I did recognize are Black. For the musicians and authors, perhaps I tend to not read/listen to that genre. But I WANT to know the names of activists and politicians who fought to make a difference and advocate for Black rights. 


Question #2: Which story deserves to be told and why?


I think the story of Robert Sutherland deserves to be told. Not only was he the first Canadian university student of colour, but he was also Canada’s first Black lawyer. He was born in Jamaica and came to Kingston to study at Queen’s University in 1849. Back then it must have been very difficult for him to travel all the way to Canada by boat, and then get accepted to university as the first black person. I am impressed he won 14 academic prizes at Queen’s. After finishing university he went to law school in Walkerton and became a lawyer for 20 years. When he passed away he left his estate of $12,000 to the university (it was the largest donation any person had given to the university, and it was equal to their annual operating budget). All of these achievements demonstrate that Sutherland’s life should be taught to students in Canadian schools.


All these stories deserve to be told, but the ones that stuck out to me most are the activists and social justice artists. Rocky Jones, Jean Augustine, Afua Cooper, Sylvia D. Hamilton, Carrie Best and Denham Jolly.  These people fought for social justice in Canada, where we are. In elementary school the only Black Canadian I was taught about is Viola Desmond. Most of our Black History Month education is boiled down to Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. This leads us to believe that only Black American activists exist, and even more harmfully, that anti-Black racism is an America-based issue. The stories of Black Canadians are rarely taught- in fact the first time I learned about someone other than Viola Desmond was in Grade 11 Media Studies, when I learned about Lincoln Alexander. If we, here in Canada, are taught about MLK Jr., we should also be taught about Rocky Jones and Denham Jolly. If we are taught about Rosa Parks, we should also be taught about not only Viola Desmond, but Carrie Best and Jean Augustine. We can't just be taught watered-down, palatable versions of history that aren't even from this country. 


All of these Black Canadian stories deserve to be told. I understand that it may not be practical to teach all of them in schools, but school curriculums need to teach more Black history than they currently do. I don't think I had learned a single one of the names on this table as part of any history class I've taken. 




February 26, 2021

3 questions, answered by Mrs. Moore’s Grade 10 English Class.


Should more be done, regarding Black History Month?

“Last year, all I remember was having a black history month assembly, and that was about it.  I think in just this year, our focus on black history has improved, as we are not just doing an assembly, but also learning about important black “trail blazers'' in our history everyday.  I believe it is very important that schools teach about black history, because without this understanding and exposure to learning about black history and the issue of racial discrimination, we can’t know how to help help and contrubute to the racial justice movement.  I think the rise in the Black Lives Matter movement has definitely caused more people to learn about and get angry about this issue, and without knowing and getting angry, you won’t be able to fight it.  I, for one, learned more during this movement than I had in my whole school career, and I think this really says something about our schools and the systematic racism embedded in our society. Therefore, I think that our school, and not only schools, could be doing more, because you can never do too much when the issue in hands is remembering the horrible ways a whole group of people have been treated, and are still going through that pain today.  We have to do everything we can to continue to fight the system racism that still exists in our society today, and the best way to do that is by spreading the word. “ (a Grade Ten student)


It is a time to celebrate black livelihood and all that they have done for our country and apologize for the unfairness that they have faced in the past.

In my opinion we don't do enough for Black History Month, schools do a much better job than anywhere else, but our society outside of schools needs to do better. We need adults to learn these things. Generation Z has been growing up with this, but the generations before us did not, we need to fix that. (Hattie McCullough)

Frankly, no. Appreciating and simply stating your support for black people is good and easy but in reality, it is not enough. When black people are being racially profiled, discriminated against in various environments, and some even beaten their skin colour, just talking is not enough. Attending protests, donating money to certain organizations that directly support black people, and simply speaking up when you see discrimination against black people is what really helps. And involving black people in organizing Black History Month related events is important because without their input, what are we really doing? Ultimately, I think we make steps in the right direction but they are not enough.  (Owen Wessan)


What does it mean to you?

Black History Month, as an Asian-Canadian, means supporting black lives. Even though I think that racism against people of colour heavily applies to Asians as well, I recognize that this month is to support black people. I have several Black family members and even though I may not be with them directly right now, I can support them and other black lives around the world by simply recognizing the hardships and turmoil they’ve been through at the hand of the oppressors. Also, supporting black businesses and black artists is another way you can support black lives during Black History Month, and obviously every over month in the year. (Owen Wessan)

To me, Black History Month is a way of recognition. We spend a month, recognising and learning from our past mistakes toward racial injustice. It is a given month, where we learn more and more about the History of Black people and the mistakes made in the past, and how change has brought us to better outcomes. We celebrate and research notable Black people who attempted to bring change, and are inspired/learn from them. We are given the chance to listen to the voices of these people, and their past experiences before change was brought. We as people recognise the value of having a month to celebrate the change, and for those who are unsure, are given more insight on previous mistakes, and how change has significantly brought us all together. It’s a way of respecting these people, who in the past have been forced into terrible situations. A way of respecting them as people, and their voices and opinions. (Sofia Belova)

 Do you think enough is done for Black History Month? Write an opinion piece.


I think what has happened in the past, stays in the past. We use Black History Month to recognise our past mistakes, and knowledge ourselves more on Black history and black peoples. To some degree, we may not be doing enough, in terms of how much they have gone through in the past. As newer generations are coming in, we use Black History Month, not only to recognise their excellence and honour them, but to also teach to younger generations about how important it is that we recognise our past mistakes and learn from them. I can not say if we are doing enough or not. I simply don’t know. I’d like to think that we are doing sufficiently enough, but I am sure there is more that we can do. There is always more. Honouring a month to knowledge ourselves on Black History is very important. It isn't just a way to recognise the injustice caused in the past, but a way to learn from historical black people and their experiences and voices. (Sofia Belova)




February 26, 2021

ANDERSON ABOTT - Par Fatima S. et Ruby F.


Faits Biographiques


Nom: Anderson Ruffin Abbott

Date de naissance: 7 avril, 1837 en Toronto, ON

Date de décès: 29 décembre, 1913 en Toronto, ON

Education: En 1857, Il a étudié la chimie au Collège Universitaire du Toronto. Dans 1858, Il est allé au Toronto School of Medicine


Contributions au science et médecin

Il etait le premier docteur noir-canadien qui etait nee au Canada.

Il était une avocat pour les écoles intégrées.

Abbott était un exemple de l'excellence noire. Pendant la Guerre 

de Sécession Américaine, il était chirurgien pour l'armée de l'Union.

Il faisait partie des personnes qui ont pris soin d’un Abraham Lincoln



Anderson Abbott ses débuts et son enfance


Anderson Abbott est devenu le premier docteur noir nee au Canada. Ainsi qu'il a travaillé très fort, il avait des privilèges. Il a utilisé sa voix pour évoquer l'éducation égale pour tous.  Après que le magasin de ses parents en Alabama ait été saccagé, ils ont déménagé. Ils étaient au new york pour seulement un peu de temps, avant de déménager à toronto. En 1835, le racisme à toronto a commencé à augmenter. Le père de Anderson était un très bon homme d'affaire. En 1871, il posséderait 48 propriétés, la plupart à Toronto, il était aussi dans les politiques. Anderson était née en 1837 . Anderson a reçu une excellente éducation. L’école de William King dans la colonie noire de Buxton. De là, il est allé à la Toronto Academy, où il était un étudiant d'honneur. Après environ trois ans, il est étudier à l'Oberlin College dans l'Ohio. Il a revenu au Toronto et étudier le médecin en Toronto School of Medicine et gradué en 1857. 


Reflections Personnelles


Ruby: Avant que maintenant, j’ai jamais entendu de Anderson Abbott. Mais, en faire ce projet, j’ai appris comment il était un pionnier. Le domaine de science était plupart peuplé par des vieux hommes blanches. C'était très intéressant à apprendre à propos du premier médecin noir-Canadien. 


Fatima: On n’entend jamais des personnes dans l’histoire Canadian qui ne sont pas les blanc hommes. Je n’ai jamais entendu de Anderson Abbott même s'il a joué un rôle important dans l'histoire canadienne. Ça me fait penser à les autres personnes comme lui quand ne savons pas. J'espère que nous pourrons continuer à découvrir l'importance de l'histoire canadienne qui est cachée.

ONYE NNOROM Par Sarah M. & Anneke G. 


Les Faits Biographiques


Le nom au complet d’elle: Onyenyechukwu (Onye) Nnorom

Date et ville de naissance: Onye était né sur le 27 février, 1981 dans Montreal Quebéc 


  • Onye Nnorom a gradué de l’université du Concordia en 2003 avec un baccalauréat en sciences en biologie cellulaire et moléculaire.

  • Nnorom a obtenu son diplôme de médecine à l'Université McGill en 2007.

  • En 2010, Nnorom a terminé une maîtrise en santé publique (épidémiologie) 

  • En 2010 Nnorom a aussi terminé un entraînement de résidence à l'Université de Toronto.

Pourquoi est-elle renommée?

Dr, Onye Nnorom enseigne comment le racisme peut nuire à la santé des gens. Depuis 2016, Onye a contribué à intégrer l'éducation sur ces problèmes de racisme au programme d'études en médecine de l'université de Toronto. Elle est aussi l'hôte de Race, Health & Happiness podcast. Elle a lancé ce podcast pendant la pandémie COVID-19 pour aider les personnes racialisées à rester en bonne santé et heureuses. 

Au fil des ans, elle a travaillé comme médecin, responsable de la prévention des maladies chroniques, responsable régionale d’Action Cancer Ontario, et depuis 2013, elle est directrice associée de programme à la Dalla Lana School of Public Health de l’Université de Toronto. Elle codirige le programme de résidence de l'école en santé publique et médecine préventive.

De toutes les contributions d'Onye, celle qui peut nous aider le plus est son podcast. Il est disponible pour tous ceux qui ont un appareil qui peut télécharger Spotify et qui est éducatif et il peut aider tant de personnes à traverser cette pandémie. 

Réflexion Personnelle


Sarah :

Avant j’ai faire ce projet je ne savais pas qui était Onye Nnorom et je n'avais jamais entendu parler d’elle. Une bonne chose à propos de ce projet est que j'ai pu découvrir des scientifiques canadiens noirs que nous ne connaissions pas avant. J’ai choisi cette scientiste spécifique, car je pensais que son travail était très inspirant. Elle n'a peut-être pas eu la gratitude qu'elle aurait dû avoir pour aider beaucoup de gens, en particulier les gens de couleur, c'est pourquoi j'ai pensé que ce serait bien de faire ce projet à son sujet.


Anneke :

Avant de ce projet, j'ai a pas entendu du scientiste Onye Nnorom, qui est tellement triste! Selon moi, j'ai à choisir cette scientiste parce que je pense que les femmes scientifiques noir-canadien sont un tellement grande minorité, qui a besoin de reconnaissance et représentation. J'ai à aussi pense qu'elle est une très importante personne aujourd'hui spécialement, parce qu'elle travaille dans la santé publique, qui est un grand problème et sujet autour du monde maintenant!



Edith était née le 10 avril 1890 à la réserve des six nations proche de Brantford. Elle a décédée le 3 avril 1996 à Ohsweken, Ontario. Edith a eu son diplôme Brantford, école secondaire. Edith applique pour les écoles de physicien au Canada, mais les règles ne laisse pas. Après Edith a cherché pour une école dans l'État-Unis et l'école d'infirmières New Rochelle de New York on accepté. Edith gradué premier de sa classe.

Elle travaille pour une école privée à New Rochelle. Après elle bénévole à l'âge de 27 de joindre l'armée des États-Unis. Pour plus d'une année Edith travail dans l'hôpital eu France, elle aide les soldats qui est attaqué avec gaz.

Après la guerre elle devient un des premiers ministres, première nation de votre dans l'élection fédérale. Edith a fait une grande différence dans la communauté noire et les scientist noire. Elle a brisé les frontières et crée une communauté pour les scientist plus diversifiée et plus égale


Réflexion personnelle


Moi et Owen n'avons pas entendu de beaucoup de scientistes noirs canadiens, c'est très intéressant de lire sur leurs vies et leurs contributions à la science. Edith Monture était l'un des scientistes nous n'étions pas connues. Nous avons choisi Edith Monture parce qu'elle nous intérêt. Nous aimons son histoire comment elle était une infirmière pendant la guerre mondiale et comment elle a brisé les barrières pour les femmes autochtones. Sur l'internet il y a une bonne site web avec beaucoup d'information qui a facilité sa recherche à propos de sa vie et tout qu'elle a fait durant son temps en guerre, à l'école et plus tard. Tous les quinze scientistes qu'ils ont choisi ont eu un impact sur la science et sont d'excellents modèles, mais ont pensé qu'elle était le plus intéressant et spécial de parler à propos.



February 26, 2021

B: Linda Berry

Lincoln MacCauley Alexander was the first Black Canadian member of Parliament in 1968, the first Black Canadian Cabinet Minister in 1979, and the first Black Canadien lieutenant governor of Ontario in 1985. He accomplished so much that the 21st of January is celebrated as Lincoln Alexander day.

To begin, Lincoln was born on January 21st, 1922, as the eldest son of his Carribean immigrant parents. His mother, Mae Rose, was from Jamaica, and his father, Lincoln, was from St. Vincent and the Grenadines. During this time, job opportunities were very limited for Balck Canadiens due to discrimination. Despite these obstacles, Lincoln’s parents were incredibly hardworking, his father being a carpenter by trade, as well as a sleeping car porter for the Canadian Pacififc Railway, and his mother a maid. 

His mother and father separated when Lincoln was a teenager. He then moved with his mother to Harlem, New York City for a few years. In Harlem, Lincoln met many role models in better positions than there were available to Black Canadiens. That’s right- racism was worse in Canada in certain ways, than in America. He later wrote that his experience in Harlem convinced him he could be “more than a porter.” He then returned to Toronto in 1939, just after WW2 had begun. He was too young to enlist, so instead he served his country by working as a machinist at a factory in Hamilton, making anti-aircraft guns. In 1952, Alexander joined the Royal Canadien Air Force, a branch of forces that usually restricted non-Whites from entering services. 


As for law and politics, Lincoln began higher education, and earned a BA at McMaster, then a degree from the Osgoode Hall Law school in 1953. He practiced law at a small firm in Hamilton, and in 1965, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel, an honorary title that recognizes a lawyer’s contribution to the profession. But soon, he became more interested in politics. In his memoir, Go to School, You’re a Little Black Boy, he mentions a tour through many African countries that deeply changed his perspective. “Now we were in Africa, and I realized we are a people of skill and creativity. I was a Black man, and I was a somebody.” Three years later, on June 25th, 1968, he won the seat, making him the first Black Canadien in the House of Commons. Then, in 1979, Lincoln was appointed minister of Labour in the Joe Clark Government, which made him the first Black Canadian in Cabinet. In 1980 he resigned his seat when he was appointed chair of the Ontario Workers Compensation Board, to improve the working conditions for Ontario workers. On September 20th, 1985, he was sworn in as Ontario’s 24th lieutenant governor, the first Black Canadian to be appointed a viceregal position in Canada. Through this role, he was a courageous activist in the multicultural affairs of Ontario. He fought racism in Ontario, he was an advocate for youth and their access to education, and he advocated for the rights of seniors as well. A beautiful quote that summarizes all Lincoln Alexander stood for is, “I want the record to show that I accept the responsibility of speaking for him and all others in this great nation who feel that they are the subjects of discrimination because of race, creed or colour.” 



February 26, 2021

By: Dani Hassan, Miriam Felman, and Cormac Foster


Bromley Armstrong was a man that had to fight and endure through many societal issues such as prejudice and racism. Armstrong was a pivotal figure in the early anti-discrimination campaigns in Ontario but the belief amongst many Canadians at the time was to look down upon the Black community. Around the 1950s, anti-Black racism may not have been as explicit as it was in the U.S., but in many ways it was similar. In the 50s segregation was still very much present and opportunities such as job employment, healthcare, housing, and other essential commodities were limited to Black people (Canadian Historical Association, 1985).

Bromley Armstrong was born in Kingston, Jamaica on February 9, 1926. Born into a working class family of 7 kids, his parents showed him the importance of a strong work ethic from the start. A valuable trait when jobs were scarce after the Second World War causing him to emigrate to Canada at the age of 19. Although experiencing some difficulty of employment at first he was soon hired by Massey-Harris, a welding company in Toronto, becoming the first Black welder to be hired by them. Always advocating for what was right and leading unions. Bromley passed at the age of 92 in Toronto in 2018. 

Since coming to Canada, Bromley Armstrong worked passionately and tirelessly to challenge discrimination and advocate for human rights in this country. Throughout his life, Armstrong worked for and founded many organizations for race and labour relations, but according to the Canadian Encyclopedia, he’s best known for his involvement in the Dresden sit-ins, and the Toronto “rent-ins” of the 1950s and 60s. (Foster, 2016, para. 4). 

Dresden, Ontario, is a town near the U.S. border that was the location of the final point of the Underground Railroad in the 1800s. Twenty percent of the town’s population was Black in the 1950s, and the town was notorious for harsh segregation at the time. Racial discrimination was not against the law, and in 1949, locals actually voted against a by-law banning discrimination (Clément, n.d., para. 1). In 1954, Bromley Armstrong, along with Black activist, Hugh Burnett, and Chinese-Canadian activist, Ruth Lor Malloy, participated in sit-ins at a Dresden restaurant called Kay’s Cafe, which commonly refused service to people of colour. These sit-ins predated the ones in the United States. The Dresden sit-ins were a success, receiving notable media attention, and they persuaded Leslie Frost, Ontario premier, to announce the Fair Accommodation Practices Act, as well as the Fair Employment Practices Act. (V, 2018, para. 2). In 1961, The Ontario Human Rights commision was established, influenced by the Dresden story. The organization was the first of its kind in Canada (Foster, 2016, para. 6).

Armstrong and Malloy continued to work as a team with the Toronto “rent-ins”, where they would pretend to be a couple and respond to advertised vacancies. They were frequently told the place was already taken, despite the other half of their team, a white couple, being able to rent the same establishment afterwards. They tested restaurants and clubs as well, exposing the racism in Toronto establishments and bringing it to the attention of the legal system (Foster, 2016, para. 7). 

Furthermore, Bromley Armstrong published a newspaper called The Islander from 1973 to 1997. “Repeated threats against the paper and a campaign of harassment against Armstrong in the 70s led to the arrest of 29 white suremecists, according to published reports” (Csillag, 2018, para. 23). 

To conclude, Bromley Armstrong won several awards for his work, but the real victories of his relentless efforts were the changes to Canadian policies. When he died in 2018 at 92 years old, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, “Bromley Armstrong’s work was trailblazing and courageous, and the legacy he leaves in Ontario and across our country is exceptional. Canada is richer, more just and more equal for his efforts” (Trudeau, 2018). We must carry on with the work Armstrong started, and continue the fight against the racial discrimination that is still unmistakably present in this country.

Clément, Domonique. (n.d.). Dresden and racial discrimination. Canada’s Human Rights


Csillag, Ron. (2018, September 4.). Civil-rights champion, Bromley Armstrong was ‘a

gentleman and a scrapper’. The Globe and Mail.


Foster, Lorne. (2018, September 7.). Bromley Armstrong. The Canadian Encyclopedia.

Moon, J. (2018, August 24.) Dr. Bromley Armstrong, Black activist and community leader,

challenged discrimination where he found it. The Star.


Trudeau, J. [@JustinTrudeau]. (2018, September 23.). Bromley Armstrong's work was

trailblazing and courageous, and the legacy he leaves in Ontario and across our country

is exceptional. Canada is richer, more just and more equal for his efforts. Quote Tweet.

V, Bill. (2018, August 30.). In memoriam: Bromley Armstrong, Black civil rights and trade

union activist. Toronto Public Library.


Walker, J. W. S. (1985). Racial discrimination in canada: The black experience 

(T. Cook & G. Blais, Ed.). Cha-shc. Retrieved September 26, 2020, from




February 26, 2021

Grade 10 Art Students 


Visual Prompt: Recreate a piece of art by a Black Canadian Artist using what you have at home. 







Why our NHS Educators Celebrate Black History Month

February 26, 2021

NHS Educators


Prompt: What does Black History Month mean to you?  Why do you celebrate Black History Month? 

Ms. Amenta:

If you were to get into a conflict with someone and your parents, teacher, principal or boss only listened to the other person’s perspective, you would feel mischaracterized, that crucial information was missing and that your consequences were unjust. Because our history books have been written by white people, Black people throughout history have been mischaracterized. There’s a lot of crucial information missing; a lot of crucial experiences missing. And, because today's society is based on our history, Black people today are dealing with a lot of unjust consequences. To make today a more equitable and just society, we need to reshape our history by listening to Black people share their history and to hear their experiences and perspectives. This is one of the many reasons why I celebrate Black History Month.


Mr. Wilson:

I think it’s important to celebrate Black History Month because it helps us to remember to include Black voices and Black stories all year.


Mr. Boulerice:

This month, I celebrate that our history is full of people like Elijah Mccoy, Willie O’ree, and Lincoln Alexander who have done their part to make Canada the diverse and prosperous nation it is today. They were all for change and progress, and now it's up to us. Let their courage be contagious. 


Ms. Phillips:

Black history month is an opportunity to listen to and learn more about the lived experiences and perspectives of Black Canadians and their communities. It’s a time to amplify the voices and to recognize and celebrate the achievements of the Black community. It’s really important to consider the responsibility of global citizenship and to support and stand up for the human rights of BIPOC populations around the world


Ms. Samuels:

Muhammed Ali once said: “Impossible is a big word that small men throw around because they find it easier to live in the world that they were given, rather than to explore the power they have to change it.”. I celebrate Black History Month to admonish those who choose to stay ignorant. To encourage those who want to unlearn and to recognize those who stand up. I celebrate the beauty of Black excellence today, this month, and every day. Happy Black History Month. 

Mr. Fraser: 
I celebrate Black History Month because Black history is Canadian History and we need to celebrate the experiences of all Canadians. I celebrate Black History Month because without understanding our past, we cannot understand our present. 


Ms. MacKechnie:
I celebrate Black History Month because I’m a lifelong learner. I’m super curious about African, Black, and Caribbean History, but not just that — about their culture, their food, their language. I think February is a great month to take a moment to celebrate Black excellence and to open the discussion about why Black excellence is not on the forefront. Black history Month is for all our students, it’s for everyone and representation.


Mrs. White:
I celebrate Black History Month because my students deserve to learn about the many contributions of Black Canadians not currently celebrated in history textbooks or in the curriculum, because it’s an important part of this nation's history. I celebrate Black History Month because racism continues to exist and persist in our institutions, and education has the potential for social transformation. I celebrate Black History Month for equity — for justice. 


Mme Pregent: 
I celebrate Black History Month because I believe it’s important to acknowledge that more education is needed on this matter. I’ve always had a really strong sense of social justice and believe that treating people with a sense of respect, kindness, and good intentions was enough. But it’s not. We need to be better educated. And Black History Month provides us, all of us, with that opportunity to learn and grow and be better. And so for me as a teacher, that means that making sure that my lesson plans are culturally responsive - not only during the month of february, but making sure that they’re really well integrated into all of my teachings all year long. To the DSU, I want to thank you for all the changes you are promoting. You are appreciated and you are doing really good work. 


Ms. Wilson:
I celebrate Black History Month because I think it’s important to celebrate and recognize the contributions that Black People have made and it’s a time for us to reflect on the past and educate ourselves on the effects of racism.

Senora Mason:
I celebrate Black History for a more just and inclusive future. 


Mr. Dash:
I celebrate Black History Month because I want students to live in a world where barriers don’t impede dreams. I celebrate Black History Month because it matters. 


Mr. Bakelaar:
For me, Black History Month is a time to reflect on my own views of the world. The ones I’ve challenged, the ones I’ve changed, and the ones that still stand between me and a full sense of equity. It’s a time to compare the Africa I was taught with the Africa I came to know and love - 54 diverse countries in there by the way. It’s also a time when I step back, examine my own privilege, and dream of a day when the colour of your skin doesn’t determine where you start in life. But mostly, it’s a time to celebrate the culture, the music, accomplishments, art, and legacy of Black peoples across the world. 


Ms. Amimi:
Black History Month is meaningful to me because I am the offspring of a biracial couple. My mother is white, and my father is black. I have witnessed many trials and tribulations having been raised in a mixed family. What I love about Black History Month is that it showcases so many leaders, role models, and trailblazers, from past to present. 


Mr. Bonnell’s:
Why I think it’s important to celebrate Black History Month in Canada is because it’s important to celebrate the lives and the culture of Black Canadians, but also for me to take time to reflect on my own life and to question what I might be able to do to help make my community more inclusive and equitable. 


Mr. Wallace: 
Black History Month is a time to acknowledge my privilege as a white man. It’s a time to celebrate Black voices and accomplishments. It serves as a reminder of the learning that still needs to take place. And now more than ever, it shows the power and influence of student voice. Happy Black History Month!


Ms. Murray:
Black History Month holds a special place in my heart because I am inspired by the accomplishments and contributions of members of the Black community and Martin Luther King Jr. is one of those individuals who inspires me. One of his quotes, in particular, is: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’”, and it’s definitely a mantra that I use throughout my life and just a way that I think is really important to approach the world. So, by honoring and celebrating Black History Month, it gives us an opportunity to give back to others and be contributing members of society. And that I think is one of the most important things that we can do in life. So, cheers


Mr. Symes:
I celebrate Black History Month because I believe it’s important to acknowledge that more education is needed on this matter. I’ve always had a really strong sense of social justice and believe that treating people with a sense of respect, kindness, and good intentions was enough. But it’s not. We need to be better educated. And Black History Month provides us, all of us, with that opportunity to learn and grow and be better. And so for me as a teacher, that means that making sure that my lesson plans are culturally responsive - not only during the month of February, but making sure that they’re really well integrated into all of my teachings all year long. 


Ms. Tobin:
I want to talk about the number two construction battalion, and it’s actually featured in this book which is called The Black Battalion; Canada’s Best Kept Military Secret, by Calvin Ruck. Approximately 600 Black soldiers served in this segregated non-combatant battalion. When the call to arms went out, all over Canada in 1914, these men heeded that call only to be turned away from enlisting because of the colour of their skin. Essentially, these men had to fight to fight. And according to Ruck in his book, he says: “The men of the number 2 Black construction battalion entered and left the battlefield with dignity, class, and their heads held high, and that is what they will continue to be remembered for.”


Black Canadian Trailblazers Celebrated at Nepean
February 26, 2021
Here are a few of the thousands of accomplished Black-Canadians celebrated at Nepean this month, with an announcement each morning of the school week!

February 2nd: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Jean Augustine. Jean Augustine is a politician and social activist:: elected the first Black female Member of Parliament, dedicating her life to equity in education. In 1993, she was appointed the first Black woman in Cabinet and named first Fairness Commissioner by the Government of Ontario. In 1995, she single-handedly championed the unanimous vote to officially designate February as Black History Month in Canada. 25 years later, she still continues to dedicate her life to addressing the systemic barriers and ethnic inequalities that persist in the Canadian education system. As one of the many African-American trailblazers, today we celebrate and honour Jean Augustine as one of our black leaders in Canadian history. With that being said Happy Black history month everyone!


February 3rd:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Rosemary Brown. She was a politician, feminist, writer, educated, lecturer and mother, Rosemary Brown has contributed so much to her adopted country since she came to Canada from Jamacia in 1950.Brown helped found the British Columbia Association for the advanced people of colour. This association worked to open up housing and employment to Black people in B.C, as well as the introduction of human rights legislation in the provincial parliament.In 1971 she entered provincial politics as a New Democratic Party candidate, later becoming the first black woman to sit in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. She was also a strong and effective worker for women’s rights not only in Canada but in the world. Her commitment helped pave the way to the freedom we have now. Have a great day Nepean, and Remember this quote from Rosemary Brown, Brown is beautiful.


February 4th: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Harry Jerome. Harry Jerome was a 3 time Olympian and the first Canadian-born athlete to hold an Olympic track record. At the age of 18, Jerome captured the Canadian record in the 220-yard dash, and then in the following year he either broke or equaled the records in the 60-yard indoor dash, the 100-yard dash, the 100 m sprint, and the 440-yard relay. Jerome since then has been inducted into many prestigious rankings such as Canada’s Hall of Fame, BC sports hall of fame, and many more. Harry Jerome is a symbol of black excellence and we’ll continue to be an icon to black athletes. 

February 5th: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Zanana Akande. Zanana Akande was born in Toronto, in 1937, to parents from the Caribbean. She studied at the University of Toronto and became a teacher within the Toronto District School Board. She began to pursue politics and joined the New Democratic Party. In 1990 Zanana Akande was elected as the Member of provincial Parliament, representing a riding in Toronto. She is the first black woman to be elected as an MPP. After being elected, Akande served as the Minister of Community and Social Services and in 1992 she was parliamentary assistant to Ontario Premier Bob Rae. Throughout her career, Akande worked for social justice by addressing education, media, race relations, feminism and income inequality. Resigning in 1994, her Zanana Akande political career was short but powerful as she used her voice and strength to fight for a better future for everyone. 


February 8th:

Today’s African-Canadian Trailblazer is Oscar Peterson. Born in Montreal in 1925, Oscar Peterson was a jazz pianist, composer, and educator who had a large influence on the swing and other forms of music. He was an extremely creative and talented musical genius, playing piano and trumpet as early as five years old. After winning the CBC national music competition at only 14 years old and went on to have an amazing career, including being a full-time touring member of Jazz at the Philharmonic and being a member of many jazz trios. He also showed extraordinary talent in his compositions, such as “Hymn To Freedom” which became an anthem for the civil rights movement in the United States. Oscar Peterson overcame many struggles throughout his life, including having chronic arthritis since a young age, and especially the apparent racial discrimination in Canada. Oscar Peterson truly is an amazing African-Canadian Trailblazer worth celebrating. 


February 9th:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Hugh Burnett. A descendant of enslaved African American people who escaped to Canada through the Underground Railroad, Burnett was a key civil rights activist in the fight for anti-discrimination legislation in Ontario during the 1940s and 50s. At the time, segregation was not written into the law, but discrimination was still apparent, with white business owners frequently refusing service to Black people. Hugh Burnett fought this inequality with a group called the National Unity Association, and he also organized sit-ins at a café in Dresden, which gained media attention. A few years later, similar sit-ins would become a prominent part of the civil rights movement in the United States. These campaigns resulted in Ontario Premier Leslie Frost enacting the Fair Employment Practices Act in 1951, and the Fair Accommodation Practices Act in 1954, which forbid discrimination in employment, and public service and housing respectively. Accomplishments worth commemorating.  


February 10th:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Violet King Henry. She was the first black Canadian to obtain a degree as a lawyer, the first to graduate law in Alberta, and the first black person to be admitted to the Alberta Bar. She has also accomplished to be the first woman to be given a senior management position with the YMCA in the United States. King had broken glass ceilings and broke down colour barriers to pave the way for future generations. Her dedication and hard work go towards inspiring those who also want to do great things in life.


February 11th:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Yolande James. Yolande James is a former Quebec provincial politician. She was the first black female MNA and the youngest, as well as the first black cabinet minister in Quebec history. She is also A member of the Quebec Liberal Party, she represented the multicultural riding of Nelligan on the island of Montreal. Yolande is now a political commentator for various CBC-Radio Canada programs and a lawyer-mediator. She also gives frequent public talks on various topics such as immigration, diversity, and gender equality in society and in politics. Yolande founded the Valorisation Jeunesse Program which offers young people access to professional job opportunities and ensures companies have a more diverse workforce. Yolande has a degree in Civil Law from the University of Montreal and a degree in Common Law from Queen’s University. Now you can remember and honour Yolande James As one of our African-Canadian trailblazers in Canadian history! 


February 12th:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Jackie Shane, a pioneering transgender performer who was a prominent figure in Toronto’s R&B scene in the 1960s. Early on in her career, Jackie grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, singing in church choirs and gospel groups. As she started gravitating to the R&B scene she started getting acts alongside Jackie Wilson and Etta James. However, life wasn’t easy for her. In 2019 she told the press, “I can come into your home. I can clean your house. I can raise your children. Cook your food. Take care of yourself. But I can’t sit beside you in a public place? Something is wrong here.” Jackie’s influence set a path for not only people of colour but also for those in the LGBTQ+ community. She pushed past social norms and earned various awards.


February 16th:

Today we focus on Eleanor Collins. Eleanor was born in Edmonton Alberta and is a singer and an actor. Most know Eleanor as Canada’s First Lady of Jazz. Eleanor started her career off as a singer for CBC radio but expanded her career to acting as she became the first woman and first black entertainer in Canada to have her own TV show which was broadcasted throughout the nation. Eleanor has received numerous amounts of accolades and awards for her brilliance in the entertainment industry. Today Eleanor is 101 years old and thriving. Her legacy’s what helped pave the way for many Black Canadian entertainers to this day. 


February 17th:

Today’s Black-Canadian trailblazer is William Andrew White, III, also known as Bill White. Bill White was born in 1915, in Truro, Nova Scotia. In Halifax, White earned a degree in Music and became a composer and choral group conductor. Bill White gained an interest in politics and became a social activist. He started working within the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, a socialist democratic party that came before the New Democratic Party. Bill white ran as a candidate to represent Spadina, a district in Toronto, in the House of Commons 1949 election. In doing so, He was the first Black  Canadian to run for federal office. He did not win but continued his political and activist career and in 1970, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, which is the second-highest honour in Canada. As the reason why he was appointed this honor, Bill White is recognized for "services to the community and his contribution to better relations and understanding between people of different racial backgrounds." 

February 18th:

Today’s African-Canadian Trailblazer is Carrie Best. Carrie Best was a human rights activist, as well as a journalist, publisher, broadcaster, and more, born in New Glasgow Nova Scotia in 1903. Best argued with the Roseland theatre after they had forcefully removed Black high school students. The same happened to her and her son afterward, for which she filed a civil lawsuit, and sadly lost. In 1946, to have a bigger platform to fight against injustice and to address the issues of racism, she and her son decided to start one of the first Black-owned and published newspapers in Nova Scotia. In her weekly column in the Pictou Advocate, she encouraged the advancement of civil rights for everyone, including better living conditions on reserves. She also made an extensive investigation of the inequalities in Nova Scotia, such as housing discrimination in New Glasgow, which she even reported to the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. Carrie Best is definitely an inspiration, who has brought amazing change to Canada.


February 19th:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Sylvia D. Hamilton. Born in Beechville, Nova Scotia, a Black community outside of Halifax, Hamilton attended segregated schools as a child, and then a non-segregated high school, where she noticed that the representation of Black people in media and her textbooks barely reflected her own experiences. She went on to become a filmmaker, writer, and educator, specializing in re-evaluating Canadian history through the perspective of Black Canadians, particularly Black Canadian Women. In 1990, she co-created the New Initiatives in Film program, which worked to provide accurate representations of women in media and to create filmmaking opportunities for women of colour. Hamilton’s documentaries, such as Black Mother Black Daughter in 1989, which was created by an all-female crew, and Little Black Schoolhouse in 2007, told the historically buried or overlooked stories of Black Canadians. Hamilton has also written acclaimed essays and poetry, and has received many awards for her work. 


February 22nd:

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Mifflin Gibbs. Gibbs was a politician, judge, diplomat, banker, and entrepreneur. He was a notable figure in both American and Canadian history. In over a decade in British Columbia, he prospered in business, and advocated for the black community. In 1866, Mifflin Gibbs had become the first black person to be elected to the public office which is now British Columbia when he won a seat in the Victoria City Council. He was then the second black person to be elected official in what is now Canada and has also been the third to be elected in North America.


February 23rd: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Kuthula Matshazi. Born in Zimbabwe, Matshazi moved to Canada then moved to Nunavut three years before running for city council. He attended York University and later McMaster University, graduating with a Masters's in globalization. Matshazi was one of nine people running for eight seats on Iqaluit's municipal council, though that didn't stop him from going door to door and campaigning in the city's two grocery stores, meeting with members of the community he's called home for the past three years. Matshazi ran on a platform to improve wellness, housing, food security, infrastructure, and waste management, some of the same issues he says are similar to Zimbabwe. Matshazi says looking at social issues like health indicators, poverty, unemployment, are the things that he grew up in. Not only is Matshazi Iqaluit's first councilor from Zimbabwe, but he's also the city's first black councilor making him one of the many influential trailblazers here in Canada. With that being said happy black history month everyone. 


February 23rd: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Elijah McCoy, an engineer inventor. McCoy was an African-Canadian mechanical engineer and inventor best known for his groundbreaking innovations in industrial lubrication. Working as a fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad, he realized that the Steam-powered engines of the era faced consistent mechanical problems.  So, for six years, McCoy spent time developing a device commonly known as an “oil-drip cup,” This administers a regulated amount of lubricant into the engine through a spigot. On 23 July 1872 he filed his first patent on the drip cup, registered under the title “Improvement for Lubricators in Steam Engines.” which quickly spread through the railroad business. McCoy didn’t allow himself to get caught up in what other people thought of him, and because of that, we were able to develop more efficient mechanics. 


February 25th:

Today’s Black Canadian trailblazer is Ruth B. Ruth B is a Canadian singer-songwriter from Edmonton Alberta and comes from Ethiopian descent. Ruth quickly gained traction in 2015 with her song Lost boy which went double platinum in the US and triple platinum in Canada. In the following years, Ruth released her debut album with features from numerous artists and toured with some as well. This past summer Ruth released a song titled “if I have a  son” as a contribution to black lives matter and released another song where all the proceeds went to charities fighting for equality. Ruth is an example of modern-day Black Canadian excellence and shows that even now black artists and influencers are here to push for equality.


February 26: 

Today’s African-Canadian trailblazer is Esi Edugyan, an accomplished novelist. Edugyan was born in Calgary, to parents who immigrated from Ghana. At the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, she studied creative writing and then earned a master's degree in writing from John Hopkins University, in the United States. Esi Edugyan has written 4 novels, her most famous novels being Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black. Her first novel, The Second Life of Samuel Tyne,  published when she was 24, was shortlisted for the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, an American award that honours Black writers. Her later novels, Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black received a large amount of praise and were nominated for multiple awards. Some of the awards that  Edugyan has won are the Governor General's Award for English-language fiction, the 2011 Giller Prize, and the 2018 Giller Prize. Esi Edugyan is a successful, Black Candian author, with numerous achievements, inspiring others to pursue their passion for writing.



January 15, 2021

By Patrick Clarkin, Grade 12

Prompt: Review your favourites: Are you a fan of a podcast, book, TV show, etc. that everyone needs to know about (or that you just really want to talk about)?


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How I Feel About Starting School During A Pandemic - Response to October Written Prompt 
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October 15, 2020

By Anna Carsley-Jones, Grade 12

Prompt: How do you feel about starting school during a pandemic?


I don't know. I would like to know how I feel, but I just don't. Everyday month, week and day is different. I go from blank, to sad, to inspired, to tired, to crying, to sleeping, to ignoring, to angry, to laughing, to satisfied, to feeling like I'll never be satisfied. Some days, I cycle through each one of these feelings. The pandemic has been a rollercoaster of emotions, except not fast or thrilling. It’s been an old, slow, rusty rollercoaster that gains a tiny bit of momentum before coming to a brief stop, every 15 seconds, making a horrible braking noise. A rusty rollercoaster that you worry you or others might get tetanus from. A roller coaster I desperately want to get off. 


One thing that makes me happy is that I get to see people now- in person -as I am doing hybrid. And seeing 50% of my peers is definitely better than 0%. The social aspect of school is so important- so when I was only online from March to June, I struggled. The digital world is amazing, but I don't want to live through it. Now I get joy and laughter from being with others, face to face - although 2 meters away -and having conversations that feel real- not static. I wish we were completely back to school, no masks, no distancing. I wish the pandemic had lasted only a month, but here we are- 6 months later.


So 6 months later, starting a new school year,- my last high school year -how do I feel? I’m blank, I’m sad, I’m inspired, I'm tired, I’m crying, I'm sleeping, I’m ignoring, I'm angry, I'm laughing, I’m satisfied, I'm wondering if I'll ever be satisfied, and I'm trying to have hope for what is to come.

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