It was one year ago today that I was elected the Student Trustee of the York Catholic District School Board, and let me tell you, the thrill I had when I first got elected and the pride I had when I took my seat for my first-ever Board meeting hasn’t gone away since.
Ever since I can remember, I’ve had a passion for speaking up and standing for I believe to be right. Those who know me know that when I think something can be done better, I have an incredibly difficult time just sitting back and doing nothing. That yearning is why I have such a hard time just sitting in a seat and being fan at a hockey game or a school assembly. Put simply, I have to somehow be involved.
That’s why when I hear about the position of Student Trustee, I instantly knew it was for me.
My election was… how should we say it…... Interesting.
I remember it like it was just yesterday. The election was so close, there had to be three rounds of voting, each one eliminating more and more candidates. Throughout the whole process, all of us candidates were in the hallway just waiting for the news that the students of York Catholic had made their decision.
After a long 40 minutes, the announcement finally came that made me incredibly honored, humbled and quite honestly, the happiest I had been in a long time. For me it was the beginning of a journey to make life better for the students I now had been tasked to represent.
My friends supported me, I knew I could excel at the role, and for me, it signaled a new direction for the students of the Board.
I’ve had the honour to sit on the Provincial Executive of the Ontario Student Trustees Association. In that role I’ve met some of the best people I’ve ever known and have made some of the strongest friendships I’ve ever had. I’ve gotten to sit in Ministry meetings and stand up for students across Ontario, something I constantly feel so grateful for.
I’ve also had the honor to represent the students of York Catholic at the Board table and the biggest thing that’s stood out for me is constantly seeing the daily small acts of personal courage by staff, parents and students.
I’ve seen the passion each Trustee and staff member has for student success and wellbeing. I’ve seen how at York Catholic, everyone from teachers, to parents, students and everyone else involved has a passion and incredible pride for their schools and their communities. In my mind, it’s been a year to celebrate for everyone at the YCDSB.
But there’s still work to do, and we’re just getting started.
Students, never let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter or is only appropriate in certain circumstances. Each of you has a voice and each of you have a say, and anyone that tells you different is quite honestly lying. Never sit back, complain about the way things are and ask Why? But instead, stand up and say Why Not!
I’m very fond the analogy of the Irish lads whose journey was blocked by a brick wall seemingly too high to scale. Throwing their caps over the wall the lads had no choice but to follow.
Students, I ask each of you to throw your hats over the wall. I ask all of you not to give up, not to sit back, but to stand for something. Help fulfill that unwritten commandment that we will give our kids better than we ourselves have received.
I’m a true believer that education is the silver bullet to each and every single issue our world faces. So let’s stand up together to improve education- to improve the world.