A growing connection: Dal hosts Community Day for displaced school

- May 16, 2024

Dr. Joshua Bates and Ryan Snitynsky from Dalhousie’s Chemistry Department shared an interactive experiment with the SJAM students.
Dr. Joshua Bates and Ryan Snitynsky from Dalhousie’s Chemistry Department shared an interactive experiment with the SJAM students.

Students at a nearby elementary school enjoyed an hour full of exciting activities provided by their friends at Dalhousie University and a delicious lunch provided by Aramark earlier this month. 

St. Joseph A. MacKay Elementary (SJAM) students were previously in their school in Halifax’s North End, but due to the tear down and build of their new school, they have been displaced for several years. SJAM’s temporary school is on Walnut Street, just a few blocks away from Dalhousie. 

A great connection has grown between Dal and SJAM, with the university providing gym space, auditorium use for assemblies, and the annual Dal-SJAM Community Day.

Monique Thomas, director of African Nova Scotian community engagement (acting) at Dalhousie, was the lead organizer of this year’s Community Day, which took place on May 3. 

“Our support for SJAM is especially significant because of the deep ties many of its students have with the African Nova Scotian community in Halifax. We strive to ensure that every student feels welcome by offering resources and fostering a sense of belonging for them and their families within the community,” she said. 

“We deeply value our ongoing relationship with SJAM and want Dalhousie to be a place they remember positively when reflecting on this experience.”

High-fives with the Dal Tiger

Students enjoyed a lunch provided by Dalhousie’s on-campus food service provider, Aramark. One of the Aramark team members happily jumped into the Dal Tiger suit to entertain the students. Many high-fives and autographs were given. 

The Aramark team share a smile after distributing lunch to the 400 SJAM students.

There were activities and presentations by Dalhousie’s Faculties of Science and Computer Science as well as Imhotep’s Legacy Academy, a program that engages African Nova Scotian youth in STEM activities.

SJAM students joined in the fun, completing puzzles, performing experiments, and winning prizes. 

Members of the Dal Tigers basketball teams joined the students on the court for some lunch hour games. Students also were sent home with a Dal-SJAM colouring activity, designed by Dalhousie’s Communications, Marketing and Creative Services team. 

The Dalhousie-SJAM partnership will continue as the school awaits its new building, scheduled to open in September of 2025 and even after as Aramark has committed to an annual Community Day for the school.

A fun DAL-SJAM colouring activity was created by CMC’s Jill Caldwell.




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