Wednesday, 31 May 2017

School Named After Jean Augustine Officially Opens

By Neil Armstrong

Jean Augustine and Sandra Dussiaume, Principal of the Jean Augustine Secondary School in Brampton at the school's official opening on May 25, 2017.  Photo credit: Dayo

The Music Department at Jean Augustine Secondary School

Musical instruments in the music department of Jean Augustine Secondary School

Artwork by some of the students at the school

The all-day wet weather did not dampen the enthusiasm at the open house of Jean Augustine Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario -- Peel District School Board’s newest secondary school.

On May 25, the school held its official opening celebrations with Jean Augustine, a former Member of Parliament and first Black Canadian woman elected to the House of Commons, in attendance.

The school, which has an enrolment of 269 students (179 Grade 9 and 90 Grade 10) and a crest of the phoenix, opened at the beginning of the school year in September 2016.

Buoyed with pride for their school, students conducted tours of the state-of-the-art building with rooms for the visual arts, multi-media, broadcast, photography, music, hospitality, athletics, and more.

Grade 9 student, Juvraj Bhandhol, 14, reels off the motto of the school – service, advocacy, innovation and leadership (SAIL).

“The focus at our school is truly inspired by Jean Augustine’s mandate to empower students to achieve their potential through activism and service,” says Sandra Dussiaume, principal.

“Students have been working hard for months to plan this school opening. We’re all really excited to have Jean join us to celebrate and showcase our students’ creative talents with our school community.”

Jean Augustine Secondary School is the first school in Canada to be named for the Canadian social justice advocate and politician, Jean Augustine, who is originally from Grenada. 

“I am honoured that the Peel District School Board chose to name the school after me,” says Jean Augustine.  “I am impressed at how everyone at the school has built such a strong school spirit.”

She described the school as being a vibrant community that she is confident will be a beacon in Brampton.

The Colectve – the name and spelling given to the graphics design lab -- was a beehive of activity as students bragged about the 3D printers it houses and showed moulds and designs that they created.

Some of their design creations have been entered into competitions and the students expect to do well.

In the hospitality room, supervised by Mr. Lee, students prepared food and refreshments for community members and parents to taste at the open house.

Heather Norton, music teacher, said students learn songwriting, and how to compose, produce, and perform.

She said every student must understand the fundamentals of a diversity of instruments.

Leadership, innovation, and communication skills are important to the students and staff.

Guests also had an opportunity to help create the first piece of artwork to be displayed in the school. 

Augustine served in the Canadian parliament from 1993 until 2006. During this period, she served as parliamentary secretary to the prime minister, minister of state for multiculturalism and the status of women, and was a deputy speaker.

Augustine is also the former national president of the Congress of Black Women of Canada, and was instrumental in the declaration of February as Black History Month in Canada—a month celebrated in Peel schools and throughout the country. 

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