Canada's Africentric school opens in Toronto
September 9, 2009
By IAN ROBERTSON, SUN MEDIAhttp://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2009/09/09/10799466-sun.html
TORONTO -- Toronto's first black-focused school opened yesterday with drumbeats and a tradition that children rely on entire communities.
"It takes a village to raise a child," community organizer Donna Harrow said, quoting an African saying she applied to everyone supporting the Africentric Alternative School.
Harrow and Angela Wilson urged the Toronto District School Board in mid-2007 to address low achievement and a 40% dropout rate among black students. After a heated debate, trustees six months later voted for the facility.
The Africentric School, whose 115 students -- 30 more than registered last week -- are brought from across the city, emphasizes heritage but must meet education requirements.
"The focus is on youth and our culture ... a lot of our history," Alcian Morgan said, as she, husband Keith Freckleton and daughter Stacey, a York University student, took photos with the Jamaica-born couple's youngest child.
After an African drum group's rhythmic welcome, community activist Clem Marshall, of the Black Secretariat, said ancestors were with them in spirit, helping provide the "strength and courage to be here today."