By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter
The Durham District School Board (DDSB) has elected its student trustees for next year.
The election recently took place virtually as a result of the extended school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arpita Savaliya, a Grade 11 student from O’Neill CVI, will be representing Oshawa and Whitby.
Savaliya has primarily focused on studying business and law and enjoys playing and watching sports, spending time with family, and learning new things.
Her leadership roles include being on the Oshawa Youth Council, creating up-cycled bags to promote sustainable living, and is the co-founder of Equity Advocates, a student-led group that works towards informing and inspiring today’s youth through workshops.
It is through her time spent on the student senate that she learned students have the ability to influence the decisions made at the board level.
“Coming from a student’s perspective, it’s important we have that say and understanding the board system. Seeing that’s a way we can leverage the student voice and have our input put into these decisions is what grabbed my interest and I was inspired by that,” she says.
Passionate about representing the student voice, Savaliya looks forward to this upcoming year as a student trustee, noting she wants to create an impact in making the education experience more equitable so students can have more of a say when it comes to their education.
“I feel like this is another way I can ensure we are having our voice put forward. [Being elected] encourages me to continue doing what I am doing and it allows me to know that people have faith and understand that what I am doing is creating an impact and that they like the impact I’m creating,” she says.
“I feel privileged to have this role and position and I look forward to representing the students at the board level and creating a better educational experience for everyone.”
The other two student trustees are Aaliyah Jaleel, representing Ajax and Pickering, and Logan Keeler, representing Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge.
“Student trustees provide a very important and relevant voice from our largest stakeholders in education – our students. Our student trustees also provide an important channel for their fellow students to submit their issues and concerns to the Board of Trustees,” says DDSB Board Chair Chris Braney.
“Serving as a student trustee is not only a very valuable experience to those who are elected, but the fact that we have student trustees is beneficial to all DDSB students, and makes us a better educational institution,” he continues.
This was the first time the DDSB held its student trustee elections online and says the virtual voting process proved to be a “huge success.”
The three new student trustees will begin their term on August 1 and will join the board at its first board meeting of the new school year in September 2020.