February is Black History Month. Byrne Creek is an amazing highly multicultural secondary school. Put the two together and you have a perfect opportunity for a successful videoconference with Ghana, Africa.
Thanks to the long-term and herculean efforts of teachers Amelia Pederson and Judy McLeod, students from African countries have a means to express their culture in a positive way.
This year the Africa Club at Byrne Creek focussed on African drumming and dance amongst other things. Amidst 90 of their student peers, the club performed a drumming routine for a class of Ghanaian students from the Oiaia International School. The Ghanaian group presented a polished report complete with full size visuals about the country of Ghana, breaking stereotypes which we in North America often have of people in Africa and how they live.
Did you know that Ghana is the second largest cocoa exporter in the world? Was it apparent that Ghanaians have almost as much access to the typical ‘fast food’ products that Canadian students do? And, how many people would guess, if interviewed on the street by Rick Mercer or at least any unknown reporter, that Ghanaian communications technology actually is better than the average school.
Byrne Creek students asked and answered questions about vacation time, school facilities and sports. The session ended with a discussion about the multiculturalism of Byrne Creek and various students sharing a greeting from their native language – Korean, Arabic, Sudanese and French amongst others. Ghanaian students go to school in English so communications was no problem, though there are many, many tribal languages in the country.
Until next February, Black History will be remembered with the energy and knowledge of our new Ghanaian friends.