The Port of Montreal has renewed for another year its commitment to a Samajam educational program that is designed to help keep children in school.

The commitment is part of the port authority’s ongoing effort to support educational initiatives at all levels and to establish even closer ties to the communities around the port and the people who live in them.

Samajam is a cultural organization that creates participatory musical experiences and whose activities are based on play and the use of percussion. The port authority is the major partner for Montreal’s Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district in Samajam’s educational perseverance program.

This year, the port authority’s commitment is allowing 159 students from École Hochelaga elementary school to learn drumming, dance, music and staging for an hour a week, over a 20-week period.

Samajam allows students to bond with their school, develop friendships with their classmates, and interact with their teachers, who also participate in the training sessions.

This summer, students and teachers involved in the Samajam educational program will be part of a special event in collaboration with the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and with Rio Tinto Alcan as the principal partner.

“This program allows students to develop their sense of belonging to their school, their self-esteem and their ability to learn and do projects in a group, fundamental factors recognized by all stakeholders and researchers as the basis for long-term student retention,” said Louis Bellemare, Samajam’s President and Founder.

Initiatives to help keep children in school are a priority for the Port of Montreal and the maritime industry as a whole.

“Staying in school leads to opportunities for exciting and rewarding jobs, including those in the maritime industry, which could be faced with a labour shortage in the years to come,” said Sylvie Vachon, P­­resident and CEO of the Montreal Port Authority. “Student retention is a priority for our organization.”