Above: Aidyn Hill, Caitlyn Shields and Olivia Prince are the student trustees for 2024-25.

Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: Student Senate Elects 2024-25 Student Trustees 


he hallways of Hagersville Secondary School were filled with the air of democracy recently, as student representatives from secondary schools across Grand Erie converged to select next year's student trustees. The process of electing the three new representatives - from the north region, south region and representing Indigenous students across the board - required careful consideration, with a record number of candidates vying to be the voice of their fellow students and a traditional consensus decision-making model used to select next year's Indigenous Student Trustee. 

Above: Incoming student trustees with the current student trustee team including Aleena Skye, Maggie Baker and Keira Gayowsky.

"Humility is the basis for my listening and understanding," said Aidyn Hill as part of a statement in his student trustee application. "It's not about my voice, but Indigenous students as a whole." 

Hill, a Grade 12 student in the New Start program through Hagersville Secondary School, was elected through a process of consensus which involved the members of the United Indigenous Student Council collaborating and discussing the task before them, and ultimately arriving at a decision they felt would best serve the interests and needs of the whole group. This is the first year the consensus model was used in person for the Indigenous student trustee election. The method of decision-making is rooted in traditional principles and governance structures, shaped by the values and experiences of the group's members to reach collective agreement. 

Above: The 2023-24 student trustees reflect on this year's teamwork.

"I feel very strongly about creating a diverse, inclusive, and safe environment in Grand Erie," said Caitlyn Shields, a Grade 12 student at Pauline Johnson Collegiate and Vocational School, and incoming student trustee representing students from schools across the north region of Grand Erie. "As student trustee, I will devote my time to ensuring that the opinions of students from all different groups and cohorts will have their opinions listened to and considered."

Shields's secondary school experience demonstrates progressive leadership, representing her fellow PJ learners on Student Council since Grade 9, and volunteering with a number of events and initiatives. She was joined by four other dedicated and experienced student leaders presenting to their peers for the opportunity to be their voice next year. 

"I have many ideas I'd love to explore," said Olivia Prince, Grade 12 student at Cayuga Secondary School, who cited improved mental health resources and opening additional pathways for students to find leadership opportunities among her priorities. "I've been on Student Council the previous four years, and have spent this time committed to celebrating and developing an inclusive and connected culture; I plan on continuing this next year."

Prince was in a full race with eight students running to represent the south region of Grand Erie. The total number of candidates for the three Student Trustee positions was a Grand Erie record: an impressive 15 talented, experienced, and caring student leaders put their ideas forward, testament to this year's student trustee team and the members of the Student Senate's abilities to learn, lead and inspire their peers. 

The newly elected student trustees will begin their terms August 1 when the current student trustees' terms end. Grand Erie looks forward to the continued collaboration, passion and dedication these student leaders bring. 

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