Fellowes student wins board’s first two-year term student trustee position

Posted on Friday April 17, 2015
All the participants
All the participants

Fellowes High School student Connor Webster will be the first ever RCDSB Student Trustee to serve a two-year term.

The student trustee election was held Thursday, April 16 at the board office in Pembroke. There were six candidates from three schools and every RCDSB secondary school sends three representatives to act as voters. The representatives sit on student council and are considered leaders at their schools.

A few months ago, RCDSB trustees agreed to add a second student trustee position for the 2016-2017 school year and also decided student trustees should serve two-year terms. As a result, this was the first student trustee election in board history for a two-year term. The six candidates included Renfrew Collegiate Institute’s John Bossy, Mackenzie Community School’s Ben Sylvestre and Safyya Cissé and Fellowes High School’s Liam Nicol, Meredith Poirier and Connor Webster, who eventually won the election.

Connor, 15, and currently in Grade 10 is a Beachburg resident.

“I was driven to run for the role of Student Trustee with the aim of allowing the everyday ingenuity of the RCDSB's students to have an impact at the board level,” he said. “I want to give students the opportunity to make a difference, by representing our voice.”

Connor’s term starts Aug. 1 when he will take the Oath of Office in front of the rest of the RCDSB trustees during the August board meeting. Once in office, Connor expects sharing the opinions of the RCDSB student body will be his top job.

“I feel my main priority upon starting my term will be to establish productive communication with and between student councils and to integrate a greater sense of student involvement and student voice,” he said.

While the election is the most important piece of business looked after on this day, the election is also a time for student councils from different schools to get together and discuss issues and brainstorm ideas. It is also an opportunity to hear from the board as well.

Both RCDSB Chair Dave Shields and Director of Education Roger Clarke spoke to the students. Current Student Trustee Theresa Paplinskie participated by conference call. She was unable to attend in person due to illness. Because of that, 2013-2014 Student Trustee Keith Sheppard, attending his final year at Fellowes High School, stepped in to chair the meeting.

During the meeting before the election, students chose to focus the discussion on mental health and well-being. They discussed the issue at a student level and also discussed fundraising initiatives to support worthy mental health awareness causes. RCDSB Mental Health Leader Lisa LaRiviere also participated in the conversation to share thoughts in the issue from the board perspective.