Removing barriers to education success

Kourtney Jackson
Kourtney Jackson

African Canadian Christian Network is proud of the success two recent award-winning African Canadian graduates have achieved through their hard work and diligence and as a result of the organization’s ongoing partnerships with leading private schools.

When ACCN contacted the principal of CW Jefferys Collegiate Institute to recommend a bright young girl for an opportunity to attend Bishop Strachan School (BSS), he immediately recommended Kourtney Jackson.

She entered BSS in Grade 11 in 2013 and this year is graduating with a Creative Writing Award. Jackson applied to seven universities and received seven letters of acceptance. She has chosen McGill University for their General Arts program which supports her goal of becoming a screenwriter.

“We have been welcoming girls to our campus for almost 150 years and seeing them discover themselves and their potential. Our partnership with ACCN reflects our shared commitment to providing great learning opportunities for talented girls who are determined to prove that girls can do anything. Kourtney Jackson is one of five such girls at BSS,” said Head of School Deryn Lavell.

“After joining us during the first year of our partnership with ACCN, Kourtney has dreamed big and received multiple offers from some of Ontario’s finest universities. We couldn’t be more proud of her as she moves onto the next stage of her education.”

Since the ACCN program to link high achieving Afro-Canadian / Black youth with leading private schools started in 2007, Kourtney is the first girl to graduate.

“It was a great experience attending Bishop Strachan School and meeting like-minded individuals who were so very passionate about learning” said Kourtney.

In May 2015, ACCN celebrated the graduation of Akeil Zarundny, the fourth Afro-Canadian young man to graduate from Upper Canada College through the partnership. Akeil received his International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma and his Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD).

He is on his way to U of T for Political Science and ultimately pursue a law degree. Akeil was also recognized as a Lang Scholar and received a gold ring in commemoration of this accomplishment.

“Upper Canada College has embarked on the most ambitious initiative in the history of Canadian schools to attract outstanding students from all backgrounds. UCC admitted its first Black student in 1855,” said Chantal Kenny, executive director of admissions, UCC. “Much is owed to ACCN for recommending high calibre boys following their thorough and rigorous screening process.”

Since 2007, the ACCN has forged partnerships with several of the leading private schools in the GTA and has facilitated opportunities for about 80 boys and girls who have entered these partnering institutions.

On June 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Council Chambers, North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., parents of children identified as of Afro Canadian / Caribbean descent will learn about the opportunity to attend some of the leading private schools in Toronto and meet their representatives.

To learn more or to register for free for this session, e-mail to or phone 416-744-3084.