Black Excellence Discussion Series

What does Black Excellence mean? How can we work together as a community so that African, Black, African-Caribbean (ABC) students can envision and feel empowered to reach their goals and achieve their full potential?


The OCDSB will be hosting a four-part discussion series focusing on the topic of Black Excellence. It will explore support within the OCDSB, role models in the community, student perspectives, and the role of community partners. It is our goal to work towards changing the narrative around Black Excellence and fostering conversations that would distinguish and demonstrate what this can mean.


These sessions will be livestreamed over YouTube and students, parents and staff are encouraged to share questions in advance to influence the discussion.


Date and time

Topic

Livestream Link

Questions/Discussion Topic Suggestions

March 10, 2021, 7:00-8:00pm

Black Excellence at the OCDSB

Video of session 1

Form

May 18, 2021, 7:00-8:00 pm

Career advice

YouTube

Google Form

February 10, 2022, 7:00-8:00 pm

Student voice (see below for details)

YouTube

Google Form

TBD

Community Partnership

To be added

Form to be added


Session #3 - The journey to achieving Black excellence

Led by current and former OCDSB students, this discussion will be centered around the intrinsic versus extrinsic motivations when achieving excellence, and most importantly, what Black excellence signifies for Black youth. 

Participants:

Camille Williams-Taylor, OCDSB Director of Education
Faith Aqiqi, former OCDSB student, Woodroffe High School
Alador Bereketab, former OCDSB student, Canterbury High School

Redji Jean-Baptiste, former OCDSB student, Colonel By Secondary School

Kojo Nyarko, former OCDSB student, Colonel By Secondary School

David O’Sullivan, current OCDSB student, Colonel By Secondary School

Date: February 10, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

Format: Panel discussion livestreamed over YouTube

Livestream link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLUeyPwY0t0

Share Your Questions or Topics of Discussion

Members of the community are encouraged to share questions or proposed topics of discussion for the panel ahead of the event through the following Google Form.

Panel:

Faith Aqiqi is a 2021 Woodroffe High School graduate. Through various extracurricular activities during her high school career and prior, Faith has learned the importance of community building and the benefits of having a healthy moral framework that contributes to society’s growth. She currently works as an Academic Tutor at a healthcare clinic and devotes her time to serving the Ottawa-Gatineau region as a virtues class teacher for kids. Faith is currently in her first year of the Bachelor of Public Affairs and Policy Management program at Carleton University. She serves as an Events Coordinator for Carleton’s Women In Leadership society and is involved in various projects across multiple disciplines. Faith was one of the co-heads of last year’s Black Youth Forum Class and has experience with outreaching and facilitating virtual and in-person events.

Alador Bereketab is a recent Ottawa Carleton District School Board graduate, who graduated from the music program at Canterbury High School, as a violinist. She now attends McMaster University, pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) Program. During her time in the OCDSB, she took part in the 2020-2021 Black Youth Forum Class, as well as leading Canterbury High Schools Black Students Association and founding her club, Let’s Start Change. She works with music programs across North America to improve classical music accessibility for Black Youth.

Redji Jean-Baptiste graduated from Colonel By Secondary school in 2020. While attending colonel by, Redji was a co-president for the black excellence club and a member of the OCDSB Black Youth Forum planning committee. He now attends the University of Toronto where he studies computer science and plays football for the varsity blues.

Kwadjo Nyarko is a 2020 Ottawa Carleton District School Board graduate, he graduated from the International Baccalaureate program at Colonel By Secondary School. He now attends the University of Ottawa for an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences Program and is involved in biology and public health research. In his time at the OCDSB, he was involved in the 2019-2020 Black Youth Forum Class and helped lead his school’s Black Excellence Club.

David O'Sullivan is a current grade 12 student in the OCDSB at Colonel By Secondary School. He is an executive of Colonel By's Black Excellence Club as well as a member of Asian Voices Amplified at Colonel By. He plans to pursue commerce in his university studies.


Previous session

Session #2 - Opening doors for others

For session #2 of the OCDSB Black Excellence Discussion Series, we invite three professionals to share their experiences and offer their career advice for Black students.

Presenters:

Introductions: Camille Williams-Taylor, OCDSB Director of Education

Moderator: Jacqueline Lawrence, OCDSB Diversity and Equity Coordinator

Panel: 

  • Dominique Dennery,  coach, facilitator, and management consultant
  • Dr. Joy Harewood, Director of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging and Associate Clinical Professor at SUNY College of Optometry (former OCDSB student)  
  • Faisa Omer, Mental Health Counsellor (former OCDSB student)




Session #1 - Cultivating Black Excellence at the OCDSB


Topic:
How can we support Black students to overcome barriers and find opportunities to reach their potential?


Presenters:

Introduction remarks: Camille Williams-Taylor, OCDSB Director of Education

Moderator: Jacqueline Lawrence, OCDSB Diversity and Equity Coordinator

Panel: 

Mariam Abdullahi, former OCDSB student

Prince Duah, OCDSB Superintendent of Instruction

Tess Porter, OCDSB Black Graduation Coach

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