Durham celebrates Black excellence at DBEN awards


Tony Steele and K Shaw

On Thursday May 27th, selected students who identify as Black in the Durham District School Board were recognized for their achievements and their leadership at this year’s Durham Black Educators Network Activating (DBEN) Student Success Awards.

These scholarship awards were inspired in part by DBEN’s work with award-winning educator, Principal Baruti Kafele. Kafele stressed that the success of students is not something that happens magically. Student success must be intentionally activated. DBEN educators understand that leadership opportunities for students must be created and cultivated to support their growth.

The virtual event and featured Tony Steele, of Canon Medical Systems Canada, who delivered the keynote address. As a result of increased community support, the DBEN, in partnership with DDSB, announced that at this year’s awards ceremony 19 talented Black students were recognized with 10 different awards and scholarships totaling almost $10,000

All were academic awards that recognized leadership in the African Canadian community. There were 19 awards, four of which were for elementary schools; the balanced were awarded to deserving secondary school students. 

The Caribbean Camera spoke to two of the winners, Kalle Stewart and De Mario Knowles. Kalle plans to use his scholarship to attend Queen’s University in Kingston; he plans to study engineering. “I have an interest in the automotive and the space industry and that’s mostly what I want to go into.”

De Mario, a grade 11 student won’t be going to college this year but he hopes to go to the University of Toronto He said “I would like to study medical science so that I can become a doctor. I heard that University of Toronto has an excellent program.” De Mario whose mother is from Jamaica and father is a Canadian said that he loves Jamaican food 110%.

To find out more news about the Durham District School Board and its schools, visit www.ddsb.ca. For more information related to this event or other initiatives affiliated with DBEN, please visit www.dben.org.