Delegates to the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) SuperCouncil met Wednesday, April 30 at York University to elect a new executive committee and participate in a series of workshops. The SuperCouncil is the highest level of student representation within the TDSB, speaking for 86,000 Toronto high-school students.
The SuperCouncil brings student interests forward to TDSB trustees, acting as the voice of Toronto public high-school students on issues like in-school breakfast programs and safe schools. Last year, the SuperCouncil successfully lobbied against a $1.2-million funding cut that would have seen a drastic reduction in the number of breakfast programs offered through Toronto schools.
Conference chair Cheryl Zhu (right) acknowledged the University’s assistance, saying the event “would not have happened without the graciousness of York University.” She said the TDSB SuperCouncil chose York to host its election conference because “the venue is so nice, one of the best I’ve seen. York just wants to help us, especially since we’re a student group; they’re able to help us work within our budget.”
Shelby Verboven, manager of on-campus recruitment & special events at York, views these events as a natural partnership with the TDSB. "We’re really thrilled to be able to host so many amazing local student leaders at York. Many of these students will be future York students so it is great for them to experience the facilities that the campus has to offer. Supporting student leadership is important to York, just as it is to the TDSB."
Left: TDSB SuperCouncil delegates and candidates check in
This is not the first time the TDSB has chosen to host an event at York University. In February, the TDSB’s successful Imagine Student Success conference was held with York’s cooperation, and three of the TDSB’s top 20 under 20 were in attendance.
This year’s SuperCouncil plenary was held in the Price Family Cinema, where 80 high-school students representing the four district sub-councils gathered to hear special guests speak about the importance of student leadership. Among the speakers was York’s Daniella Sieukaran, a third-year psychology student, winner of the Avie Bennett Visionary Leadership Scholarship and founder of the Y-LIT program. Y-LIT (York Lions in Training) gives high-school students the chance to experience university life by shadowing a current York student for a day. In her talk, Sieukaran encouraged the conference delegates to take risks and follow their passions in order to develop their leadership skills.
Right: From left, Daniella Sieukaran with Y-Lit Assistant Director Ashley Gismondi.
Following the guest speakers, delegates voted for their new executive committee from the assembled candidates. After lunch at the Underground Restaurant the delegates reconvened for workshops dedicated to leadership, communication skills and strategies for managing time and stress. These workshops were continuations of ones held earlier during a recent SuperCouncil leadership retreat.
"The TDSB is a valued partner and we are always looking for ways to collaborate,” said David Huckvale, director of recruitment at York. “By hosting and supporting transformational events like these, we help ensure that the next generation of York students are prepared and excited to embrace the leadership and student engagement opportunities that our community provides.”
For more information about the SuperCouncil, visit the TDSB SuperCouncil Web site.