2015 Student Summit puts focus on RCDSB student issues

Posted on Thursday October 22, 2015
2015 RCDSB Student Summit
2015 RCDSB Student Summit

A gathering of RCDSB student leadership in Pembroke created a healthy buzz of conversation between high school students on issues affecting high school students.

The 2015 RCDSB Student Summit, chaired by RCDSB Student Trustee Connor Webster and held Wednesday, Oct. 14, brought together student leaders from across Renfrew County representing all seven public secondary schools across the Upper Ottawa Valley.

“As students, our voices are important and we have to speak loud,” said Student Trustee Webster, a Fellowes High School student and Beachburg Public School grad.

The 20 students are all representative of their school’s student council and they are often the students organizing fundraising events or activist issues at their schools. 

The annual RCDSB Student Summit brings all those students together in one room to share ideas, talk about issues and brainstorm on best practices to make the high school experience one all students can remember fondly.

The day opened with a welcome from Student Trustee Webster and RCDSB Chair Dave Shields. Webster then spoke of his recent trip to the Ontario Student Trustee Association Fall General Meeting – a gathering of all the province’s board student trustees.

Webster said the four-day conference discussed current student issues such as recent school staff labour discussions, board student trustee election processes and Aboriginal issues, to name a few.

Following his presentation, the students engaged in conversation on a wide-ranging host of topics including building a sense of community, school course availability, mental health, drugs and alcohol, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning (LGBTQ) issues, dress codes and smoking.

Nearing the end of the day, Student Trustee Webster spoke of hoping to improve communications between the students and their board representative. He spoke of the possible creation of a student senate involving one representative of each school’s student council and himself that would meet regularly and discuss current events and “be effective at dealing with issues.”

“Every school brought valuable insight and discussion to the table today; initiatives both school-based and board-wide were effectively shared and planned for the coming months,” said Student Trustee Webster following the summit. “We're all looking forward to working together as part of a really great group of innovative student leaders.”