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Mid-Week Mugging: Two very civically-minded students

This week’s Mid-Week Mugs go to Gillian and Aviana for their contribution to help improve school board policy
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The term for two student trustees Gillian Gobbo and Aviana Ruel came to close at yesterday’s meeting of the trustees for District School Board Ontario North East (DSBONE).

Each year the trustees select two students from DSBONE schools to serve as student trustees representatives to provide the student perspective when developing policy.

This week’s Mid-Week Mugs go to Gillian and Aviana for their civic-mindedness, and their contribution to help improve policy at DSBONE, by providing representation for students, and their participation in an important grass-roots, democratic assembly.

“We thank you for your regular attendance and participation at our meetings throughout the year,” said Board of Trustee Chair Doug Shearer. “I know it is a hard thing to ask and the there is a lot of travelling from your home communities to be here.”

“We thank you very much for participating, and I know your contribution has been very valuable to us,” added Shearer.

“We expect great things from you,” said Dennis Draves Trustee from Cochrane.

For students like Gillian and Arianna they saw and participated first hand as school board trustees developed policy. Many political experts view school board trustees as the first level of democratic representation.

Many trustees move on and upward to run in elections from local council and provincial and federal politics.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne started her career by running for school board trustee in 1994. She lost that election, but was elected to the school board in 2000.

Collectively and individually, Gillian and Aviana now have more experience serving the public than does a certain leader of a country to the south of Canada. They have completed one year of public service – he only has six months now.

Although neither Aviana nor Gillian expressed a desire to continue in politics they each said it was a valuable experience and highly recommend other students to step up and become student trustees

Gillian Gobbo, hails from Iroquois Falls Secondary School, and has this to say about her term:

"I wanted to see a change in our school and so I attended DSBONE’s Student Form and afterward applied for the position. Since being appointed to the position I have seen the impact a student trustee can have.”

Aviana Ruel, is from Cochrane High School. Avianna spent the first semester this school year at Timmins High:

“I also attended the Student Forum and it sparked an interest in me so I applied. I didn’t know the position existed so I was interested in hearing what the position was all about.

"After attending and finding out what the trustees do, I became interested in becoming a student trustee and sent in my resume because I wanted to learn more and make an impact.”

Some of the highlights of their term in office

For Gillian and Aviana it was attending the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association.

“OSTA brings together student trustees from English, French and Catholic school boards so that they propose changes to our boards and make education better,” said Gillian

“I would agree that OSTA was definitely a highlight, we met student trustees from other boards and it gave us insight on how their school board works,” said Aviana. “I thought all school boards operated the same but they are quite different and it was cool to see how some of the larger boards the Toronto School Board work and how they select their student trustees.

“We all work very differently,” observed Aviana.

Gillian is graduating this year on June 27 and is heading to Nipissing University for an honours bachelor of science specializing in biology. And after that I hope to pursue a career as a veterinarian or perhaps work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as a biologist.

Aviana also is graduating and will be attending University of Ottawa.

“I will taking a general year program just to figure out what I would like to do,” said Aviana. “I am very interested in conflict studies.”

“In the future, I would like to work in a field that would allow me to represent the voices of people."

Both Aviana and Gillian encourage students to consider becoming student trustees.

“One of the new student trustees is a friend and said apply, apply you will love it and she did apply and got the position,” Gillian stated. “She is going to be a great student trustee.”



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Frank Giorno

About the Author: Frank Giorno

Frank Giorno worked as a city hall reporter for the Brandon Sun; freelanced for the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He is the past editor of www.mininglifeonline.com and the newsletter of the Association of Italian Canadian Writers.
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