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Toronto Catholic District School Board

          Thank you to for a very awe inspiring and candid story of courage, Mr. Patrick Bizindavyi. Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School welcomed Patrick, as part of the Passages Canada program, an immeasurable learning experience for the children about what diversity and opportunity means to a someone who has struggled with political instability and war in their homeland. As part of our ongoing, African Canadian Heritage celebrations, students from grades 1-8 learned about Patrick’s humble beginnings in small town Burundi, as a teacher, a sports radio host for Radio Bonesha, and a basketball coach who left his homeland with little more than $60 to escape violence and instability to begin anew in Montreal and then Toronto. Patrick recounted his determination to survive and the idols from his youth, such as, Nelson Mandel, a peacemaker and Michael Jordan, a determined athlete to explain his mantra of “Tout faire pour etre le meilleur.” Students were inspired to act in the name of justice, as he spoke of his work with orphans in Mali and his donation of furniture to the people of Burundi. Thank you for blessing the school with your personal story.
 
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Musicians/Storytellers, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley wowed Our Lady of Wisdom’s students (Grades 1-8) with their blues infused sonic rendition of The Underground Railroad. Students learned the story of a young boy who sailed on a slave ship bound for the United States, musically accented by Chris Whiteley’s hollowbody guitar. Students were reminded about the harsh lives of the slaves who worked on the sugar cane plantations and the importance of the Underground Railroad and its conductors, like Harriet Tubman and Dr. Alexannder Ross who helped many people, traded and sold into slavery, to begin new lives in Canadian pioneer settlements in places like Windsor and London. Students had the opportunity to ask Diana more about her personal connection to the Underground Railroad and the plight of her great great great ancestors; students also joined in singing a famous code song entitled, “Children Go Where I Send Thee.”
 
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On Thursday, March 5, 2015, the Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic School Community welcomed Passages Canada guest speaker, Ms. Antoinette Mugisha, native of Rwanda with open arms. Students listened ever so attentively to her personal story of tribulation and her demonstration of personal resilience in overcoming the challenges of the refugee experience, the wars in Rwanda and Burundi and her eventual arrival and immigration to Quebec and Toronto. It was an inspiring intercultural exchange in which students were made aware of Ms. Mugisha’s cultural capital and her personal message of “On n’est jamais si bien servi que par soi-meme!”
 
 
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