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Kamala Harris' Canadian connection celebrated as she makes history stateside

Last Updated Jan 19, 2021 at 3:16 pm MDT

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

MONTREAL (CityNews) – Kamala Harris will become the first woman and first person of colour to be vice-president of the United States Wednesday.

It’s a milestone that her former Montreal school, Westmount High School, is celebrating.

The school is hosting a big party Wednesday to celebrate–the inauguration will be streamed in the classrooms for students to watch and the school is set to receive a few items from the United States Consulate General.

The students are putting together a special video to commemorate the day.

Westmount and the English Montreal School Board are also preparing a special invite for Harris to visit her alma mater during her time in office,

Harris attended the school for three years and graduated in 1981. There, she met and became friends with Wanda Kagan.

The two friends exchange the occasional text message. Kagan says she was so thrilled to see Harris elected vice-president of the U.S.

“Not many people can say ‘I lived with the vice-president of the United States,’” said Kagan. “And she fought for my rights, my dignity. And you know, I may not be the person I am today had she not helped that path way back then.”

WATCH: Montreal remembers young Kamala Harris

Students at Harris’ former high school have been inspired by the Westmount alum.

“Most people think that you have to live in a big city and a famous place to go really far but that’s not true,” said Sofia Gauthier-Gove, a grade 10 student at Westmount High School.

“It’s possible anyone from this school could make it, she’s a good influence and I look up to her,” explained Nicholas Rahim, a grade seven student.

WATCH: Celebrating Kamala Harris’ diverse roots

Harris breaking through a glass ceiling has inspired more than friends and students from her former stomping grounds–NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says her time as vice-president will encourage more women and people of colour to engage in politics and run for office.

“Each person who breaks a barrier inspires more people,” said Singh in a previous interview.

READ MORE: Harris inspiring young Black Canadians toward politics: MPs

Singh became the first person of colour in Canada’s history to run for prime minister during the 2019 election.

He added Harris’s election will encourage a future generation of Canadian women to get involved and run in elections.

“We’re only here today because of the people who broke barriers before us.”

Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campell and Canada’s first African-Canadian woman MP and cabinet minister, Jean Augustine, will be celebrating Harris’ inauguration later this week on the Famous 5 Foundation’s virtual Pink Tea series.

In her first speech as VP-elect in November, Harris paid tribute to her mother and to “Black women who are often — too often — overlooked, but who so often prove they are the backbone of our democracy.”

Before taking time to note that it has been 100 years since the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution granted women the right to vote.

However, vast numbers of non-white women remained disenfranchised by racist voting laws and policies until the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965, just 55 years ago.

-with files from CityNews, NEWS 1130, The Canadian Press, and the Associated Press