Representing student voice during a new normal
Sept. 28, 2021
Representing student voice across the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington (PVNC) Catholic District School board, student trustees Siobhan Marie and Eli McColl are ready to take on a new normal during the return to in-person learning.
Student trustees take part in all public meetings of the Board, participate with other trustees in discussions, provide reports to the Board, and represent student positions. They do not vote on issues. The Student Liaison Committee, which includes the student trustees, junior and senior reps from all six secondary schools in the Board, a trustee, principals and the director of education, meets monthly to discuss student issues. Issues that are generated at the Student Liaison Committee are brought to the Board of Trustees via the student trustees.
Siobhan Marie: Junior Student Trustee
Despite her first year of high school starting online, Siobhan Marie was more than prepared to make the transition to in-person learning this year. Throughout her elementary school career, Marie has been involved in public speaking and took part in multiple youth advisory councils both inside and outside of school. Attributing her involvement in student voice to her teachers, Marie is thankful for the encouragement she has received over the years.
“I saw becoming a junior student trustee as an opportunity to continue to represent students,” says Marie. “I think it’s a wonderful learning opportunity and a privilege to be able to represent our entire student body. It has been a great first month so far with multiple members of the board and my co-trustee Eli McColl.”
In terms of goals for the year ahead, Marie says she wants to create a legacy for PVNC students, as well as future students, so they feel comfortable and confident in each of their schools and the board itself. Encouraging students to get involved is an important part of ensuring a great transition to the new normal.
Long-term, Marie wants to pay it forward to the system that has supported her by becoming an educator herself. Bridging relationships is a passion for her as she plans to focus on languages throughout her high school career, with the ultimate goal of being able to travel and teach underprivileged youth. In addition to taking French classes, Marie is learning Korean in her spare time.
Eli McColl: Senior Student Trustee
Returning to in-person learning, senior student trustee Eli McColl is excited to get back to the social aspect of a regular school year, including working with teammates on the football and rugby team. Working as the junior student trustee last year, McColl learned a lot about the resiliency of students in the PVNC school board and is ready to use his skills to help transition students from virtual learning to in-person classes by voicing their struggles and rebuilding connections that may have been lost online.
“As we move into my senior year as a student trustee, I love seeing students coming back from COVID although some are seeing the effects of it still,” says McColl. “Last year, people were not able to conventionally communicate with each other as they weren’t at school learning and interacting in person. In my role as senior student trustee, I want to help rebuild those relationships and provide the opportunity for all students to communicate.”
Keeping student voice at the forefront of transitioning to a new normal is the most important focus for McColl. Providing opportunities in the form of surveys, meetings, rallies, and some kind of retreat for students pending restrictions are all ideas he has to assist with this task.
Looking ahead, McColl is excited to take the next step academically and attend post-secondary school for construction management, with a focus on engineering technology and project management. He believes his background in mathematics and student engagement will be an asset to his future career path.