By ARNOLD A. AUGUSTE
The Toronto District School Board continues to impress us with its commitment to the success of the Africentric School.
The latest is the addition of Veronica Sullivan to the staff of this new alternative school which will begin classes in September.
When the Board approved the school – in spite of all the opposition, especially from the White media – a promise was made that all will be done to make it a success. If we didn’t quite believe then, we do now.
The school – which will be open to students of every race and creed, although it will follow an Africentric-focused curriculum – was approved by the smallest of margins when the Board voted for it. Yet, a win is a win is a win. Members of the community have waited a very long time for this to happen.
First, the Board found room in a school centrally located which had been underused. Then, when some of the same trustees who had opposed it suggested the principal of the host school be given the responsibility for this school, the Board went ahead and hired the best person we know of from our community to be the principal in Thando Hyman-Aman. To say we were shocked, would be an understatement. We are so used to officialdom going in directions, where our community is concerned, which we know are not the best for us.
Sullivan is one of those quiet people in our community who go about their work without fanfare; those diligent people who care about Black people and who just want so desperately to make a difference.
There are many of them in our community. You wouldn’t know it unless you too are out there week after week, as they are, helping out. They don’t get their names and photographs in the newspapers – seldom even in Share – because that is not what they are about. But, they are there all right. And we are so thankful for them. They are the community builders.
Not that there is anything wrong with those who we get to feature week after week for their involvement. We need to hear those voices, we need to tell their stories, we need to recount the words of wisdom they impart, especially to our youth, so that those words can be spread through our pages far and wide – and, now, on our website – beyond the audiences to which they speak.
But, people like Sullivan are special. She loves to teach Black children. She has a passion for educating our future generations of leaders. In fact, her new principal, Hyman-Aman, was one of her students at the African Canadian Heritage Association (ACHA). It doesn’t get much better and more gratifying than that.
She says this is her dream job. Of course it is. This is what she has lived for. She says she is going to enjoy her summer preparing her lessons for her new charges. While the rest of us will be out playing golf or doing some of those wonderful summer things we love to do. Nothing wrong with that either, we are just saying…
We can’t help but remember the words, quoted in the Toronto Sun, of a retired Black educator that the best teachers won’t go to that school.
Well, Sullivan is one of the best. And she is going to that school. Hyman-Aman is one of the best, and she is going to that school.
We don’t know the others who have been hired. But we do know, and we do believe that, with the record so far of the school board and its excellent staff, they will be the best people.
We are delighted with the way this is turning out. There was so much opposition, even from within our own community.
What is so wrong with wanting to provide some extra help for Black children, with wanting to give this opportunity to the children of those who feel they would benefit from such a school?
We have never been faint or lukewarm in our support of this school. From day one we have been fully behind it. In fact, it may be true to say, we have been the only media to do so. And, we shall continue to support it and those who take on the responsibility for making it a success.
Meanwhile, the school is still accepting new students from junior kindergarten to Grade 5.