Posthumous honour for late educator Jay Williams

by Ron Fanfair
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Paulette Senior and son Jay Williams.

Jay Williams has been posthumously awarded the Ontario Physical & Health Education Association (OPHEA) 2023-24 Outstanding Contribution Award.
The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) educator died suddenly in the early hours of February 29. He was 40.
The award recognizes an individual, group or organization for their exemplary contribution to the lives of children and youth in the areas of inclusive health and physical education, health and physical activity promotion, advocacy and/or community development.
Born and raised in Toronto, Williams completed a Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education & Promotion at Dalhousie University where he played varsity basketball and was an assistant coach in his final year in 2007, and a Bachelor of Education two years later at Ontario Tech University.
He taught mainly Grade 8 in TDSB middle schools and was an Equity, Anti-Racism & Anti-Oppression coach for students from kindergarten through Grade 12 before joining the Centre of Black Excellence for Black Student Achievement last July as an equity co-ordinator.
Williams’ long-term contribution to improving the health and well-being of Ontario’s children and youth was exemplified by his collaboration with OPHEA.
Last year, the organization and the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement collaborated to elevate Black youth voices in health and well-being narratives within schools.
Williams was a staunch supporter of this collaboration, demonstrating his dedication to shifting the narrative in Health & Physical Education towards inclusivity and representation.
His enthusiasm for the collaboration culminated in an in-person event for 70 Black youth a month after he died.

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