At first glance Nelson Mandela had no connection to Overlea Secondary School/Marc Garneau Collegiate. But in some ways he became connected to anyone who believed in social justice or building a society where all were truly equal.
As a high school student during an era when racism was clearly present in Canadian society I and many of my peers never felt that we were lesser people because of the colour of our skin, our ethnicity, faith or country of origin. I say thank you to the teachers and the friends we made for being ahead of the societal curve when it came to being accepting, inclusive and equitable, for being on the front lines in the fight against racism, and for educating us about injustices in the world.
In a way the policies of social justice that Mandela advocated were practiced at Overlea/MGCI since it’s beginning – a time before most of us knew who Nelson Mandela was. Because of that history of acceptance and inclusiveness at the school I believe that all alumni have been, and forever will be connected to this man who has become an international icon for social justice, and will be an inspiration for future generations to build a better world.
Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.
Board Member: Overlea/Garneau Alumni Association