1683988477 Sugar Sammy The Cote des Neiges High School Musical – La

Sugar Sammy | The Côte-des-Neiges High School Musical – La Presse

Sing, dance and dream big at La Voie school, in the heart of the multicultural Côte-des-Neiges district. The students have no shortage of role models: professional basketball player Chris Boucher and comedian Sugar Sammy have already walked the hallways.

Posted at 1:32am. Updated at 7:00 a.m.


“It makes me proud to hear that a former La Voie student has come so far in his career. Maybe we can do it too, you know! exclaims Jasmine-Grace Aspacio, 16, in the same franglais that put his stamp on the comedian.

It’s dinner time at La Voie school. A dozen young people from the music club have agreed to speak to La Presse about their love of the stage and Quebec’s cultural industry.

Between the ages of 13 and 16, they are full of ambition and full of talent. Most of them are also children of immigrant parents.

This is the first thing that strikes you as you enter the facility, located just a few blocks from Plaza Côte-des-Neiges: at La Voie school, 99% of the students are immigrant. They are native to more than 70 countries, mostly in South Asia and the Philippines.

We are a multi-ethnic school, certainly disadvantaged, but our results are good: we have success rates of almost 80%.

Lucien Fortin, director of the La Voie school

Cultural diversity also makes the school rich. The final shows performed by the students mix Bollywood choreographies with African dance numbers, explains Ange Nanan, 19, who volunteers to create school shows.

Sugar Sammy The Cote des Neiges High School Musical – La


Angel Nanan, left

“You will never be judged here. There are people of all colors and all ethnicities,” observes the former La Voie student.

Find his place

Comedian Sugar Sammy caught the stage bug from attending La Voie school’s graduation shows.

Do his successors know that they are following in the footsteps of an internationally successful comedian? “My father and I sat in front of the television for every show [Ces gars-là] played! I’ve seen him perform before,” enthuses 16-year-old Jessika Pelland. Others, however, heard his name for the first time…

But like the comedian, they have found their place through art, be it dance, song or improvisation.

“I’ve been a shy person since I was a kid. The shows helped me get out of my shell,” says Luke Tracy Miciano, who plays bass and guitar.

“What brings us together is art. La Voie might be the next high school musical! exclaims Ange, who is a singer himself.

Feel included

We suspect that the students at La Voie School are not exactly the target audience for a TV series like Indéfendable or 5e rang.

Do you watch programs from Quebec? Movies from Quebec? The question elicits nervous laughter. “Almost all of us have immigrant parents. Most of the music I listen to at home is Bollywood music. Quebec culture isn’t really part of my culture,” replies Protiti Tarafder, 16.

In order to be interested in it, they must also recognize themselves in it. French is often the second or even third language they have learned. Some of them are more likely to be found in Anglophone culture, which is often more diverse.

“Do you know someone on TV who speaks French that you can identify with? Ashley Patricia Mioko Tshishiku asks her comrades. ” NO ! They answer almost simultaneously.

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Left to right: Ashley Patricia Mioko Tshishiku, Jessika Pelland and Luke Tracy Miciano

Jessika Pelland, the only Quebecer at the table, is particularly critical of the closure of the industry to English-speaking artists: “I think that young people are prevented from liking French. We feel compelled, as if it were an obligation, a job, to have to learn French,” she laments.

However, the teenager is very fond of Quebec music, such as Les Colocs.

With other students at the school, she formed a music group called The Show Continues In January. The formation has already written seven songs and is working on a first album. “The rest of my group doesn’t speak French, so we make a lot of music in English. We know very well that at some point, if we continue, someone will ask us: “Why don’t you do anything in French?”, she lets go.

A word from Sugar Sammy

It’s really thanks to my high school that I can adapt to my audience so easily. A multilingual and multicultural education enabled me to be very open and genuinely interested in others. These tools gave me the ability to analyze my writing fairly and accurately. Thank you to my friends who were my first guinea pigs and to the teachers who encouraged me, tolerated me and most of all to those who punished me. My life is fine now.