Student trustees prepare to improve their schools

For the first time in the history of Simcoe County District School Board, all three elected student trustees are female. Gillian Hunnisett will represent students in the North and East region, Gabi Millsap in the South and West region, and Ramneet Kaloti in the Central and South region.

With the current school year coming to a close, the three will be busy preparing for their first terms that start August 1. They have each been proactive both in their communities and schools over the years, working diligently to get to where they are today.

Hunnisett, currently in grade 10, has moved around to five different schools, but this did not stop her from getting involved with the drama, school equity team, and school relay for life (the 12-hour race helps to raise money for cancer research and support.)

Millsap is no slouch either, and holds down a part-time job at a local bakery while attending classes and volunteering at the Great Northern Exhibition near Collingwood. Last year she was put in charge of the food booth where she oversaw other student volunteers.

Kaloti takes her interest in medicine to the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre, where she works as a youth volunteer coordinator for ovarian cancer patients. She is also project coordinator on her student council where she established a debate team.

All three ladies have thought out plans for the year ahead. Hunnisett wants to help those in need through community awareness, education and inclusion.

“Awareness is something that I’ve been interested in for a while, as far as going to museums and art galleries and learning through that. Communities should also try and bring classes to local soup kitchens, shelters, food banks and places like that because I know in my community there’s a lot of poverty and there shouldn’t be as much as there is,” said Hunnisett.

She also wants to help pull misunderstood students out from the cracks they can easily slip into. The best place to spend quality time with them is in detention, she believes, where she will propose sessions with tutors and counsellors.

As for Millsap, her plans will be formulated by the students she will be representing.

“One of my biggest priorities is to talk to the students who I represent and the schools that I represent, actually having face to face conversations with students within my region. Then I can find out what they need, and that’s how I would make my decisions and plans to bring forth to the board … that would be effective for the students,” says Millsap.

Kaloti also has a strategy for the year ahead, and aims to help build a healthy school environment.

“I would like to increase communication between the schools and the students, and I’d like to set up a series of forums through social media or the internet where students can voice their concerns and ideas. We as the student trustees can help make the student body community stronger.”

Kaloti also plans to create a program that offers activities for students who do not engage in groups, similar to the SPARK initiative at Barrie Central high school. She has not discussed much with her fellow trustees, but all three look forward to working together throughout their terms.

“We’ve only met for a brief time on the night of our election, but I know that from that night I can’t wait to get to know both of them and to bounce ideas off of each other. I know that I’ll be able to learn a great deal about leadership from the both of them and I hope that I can do the same for them, as well,” said Milsap.

The group will meet every first Wednesday of the month, with student senate and adult board members. They also plan on emailing, face timing and get-togethers with just the three of them.

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