The first term report card is in for Canada’s first Africentric Alternative School and the mark is excellent.
Opening with 80 students last September 8, enrollment increased in the first week to 130 and there is now a waiting list of nearly 40. In addition, the school has hired two teachers who have been assigned to the expanded kindergarten and Grade One classes which experienced the most growth.
Principal Thando Hyman-Aman said she’s in the process of adding staff in the New Year.
“This is all because of you,” she told parents at the school’s Kwanzaa celebration last Thursday night. “What we have seen here in the last three months has exceeded expectations. What it has demonstrated is that there is a groundswell of support by parents and the community for a strong foundation and an Africentric curriculum.
“There is something about that indomitable African spirit that has allowed us to overcome all the obstacles and challenges we faced in getting this institution up and running. We have done it, we have made it and we continue to grow, learn, develop and challenge each other to make sure that the future of the students who attend this school is even better.
“As we go forward, I encourage other parents to become our partners and ensure that these young people excel academically and become the leaders of tomorrow. This is why we are here.”
Educator, writer and artist Donna Guerra (I am mai) presented a limited edition painting titled, The Chosen, to the school. She said a group, comprising singer/songwriter Luanda Campbell and former educator Christine Guerra, which raised funds to contribute to the cost of producing the print, made just one request and that was that she present it to a person or community group that demonstrated leadership in the Black community.
“My first thought was the Africentric School because it has been a long time coming and many strong, dedicated, committed and tenacious people exhibited their leadership skills and worked tirelessly to bring the school from the realm of the theoretical to a matter of feeling,” said the former TDSB equity instructional leader.
“I believe it’s important to know the accomplishments and sacrifices of our ancestors. I also believe that it is essential to know those who are alive and well and support us, those who are our leaders and heroes and who are still here with us so that they know that their hard work, dedication, commitment and achievement have not gone in vain.
“My hope is that this painting of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama will grace the halls of the Africentric School in a location where students, staff and parents can see glory and thereby be inspired to continue to be or to become world-class leaders in our global community.”
Educator Clem Marshall, with the assistance of two students, offered a libation of water to the ancestral spirits while the pupils participated in the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
Spoken word artist Motion and dancer Amma Ofori made guest appearances at the event.