Upper Canada College’s Horizons program invited guests and engaged in a variety of activities this summer as part of its “My vision of Toronto” theme.
Horizons was created in 1999 as a partnership between UCC and the Toronto District School Board to share resources, provide learning opportunities for both public and independent school groups, and build mentoring and tutoring relationships between students.
Horizons offers an enriched academic summer program for 180 children from priority neighbourhoods around the city. Dwayne Morgan — an accomplished local poet, spoken word artist and motivational speaker — was invited to the school on July 10 to speak to all of them.
“He’s been writing and performing for over 20 years, and he has a really lovely way of connecting with youth in a positive and hopeful way,” says Horizons director Jyoti Sehgal, who first became aware of Morgan during her early teaching days in Scarborough, Ont.
“There’s a lot of negativity in relationships at their age group of grades seven to nine, where they sometimes find put-downs funny. They avoid or maybe don’t even recognize the positives in other people. He reframes the way they should look at their friendships and relationships.
“He speaks very powerfully, gets everyone involved and just captivates everybody.”
You can watch clips of Morgan’s address to the Horizons students here.
Local musician, composer, producer, DJ and actor Quincy Bullen — the son of Juno Award-winning pianist, composer, arranger and producer Eddie Bullen — was another guest. The talented teen took part in the Horizons talent show on July 21.
Students in each Horizons grade participated in walks where they learned about the indigenous histories of different areas of Toronto, and Grade 8 students interviewed local change-makers in conjunction with this summer’s theme.
“Our students are incredibly engaged, interested and excited,” says Sehgal. “It’s wonderful to work with kids who are so enthusiastic about coming to school in July.”