Kaylee Kelly exudes confidence and passion. The grade 10 student at Huntsville High School (HHS) has big plans, and they are just beginning with her recent election as student trustee for Trillium Lakelands District School Board (TLDSB).
Kelly submitted an application to her principal and was selected as the candidate to represent Huntsville High School at TLDSB’s recent G7 Student Leadership Conference. There, she was one of three representatives from the board’s secondary schools who gave a speech to about 100 other students about why they thought they were the best person for the student trustee role.
She told them that “students have the power to lead” and that they “can make a positive change if we all work together.” She cited the recent education cuts announced by the Ford government and said that now is the time for students to come forward and be heard.
Kelly was inspired to become more politically involved after taking a civics class last semester. Until that point, she had her sights set on a career as a National Geographic photographer. But that civics class ignited an interest in politics, news and law and she switched her goal to future studies in human rights law or environmental law. And if she works hard enough, to becoming a United Nations ambassador. “It sounds like a big title but I have my mind set to it,” she says.
She encourages other students to get involved politically, as well, even if it’s just bringing awareness about issues to their community. Following the provincial government’s announcement about planned education cuts, she made a poster and submitted it to Oliver’s, the café in the Canada Summit Centre across from the high school. They put it in their window, and she heard from fellow students that it helped them to understand what impact the cuts could have on them.
“I believe that you can get politically involved as young students, that you can stay calm and not get violent at all and peacefully protest,” she says.
Kelly’s student trustee role will require her to attend Ontario Student Trustee Association meetings, as well as bring issues and accomplishments from each TLDSB secondary school to board meetings.
Although she’ll be looking to other students for their input, she also has some ideas about what she’d like to achieve in her time as trustee, including addressing bullying and cyberbullying, improving the overall school environment, encouraging students to get involved in clubs and teams, and bringing awareness about her role to her younger peers who may be thinking about pursuing it in the future.
Kelly says she’s ecstatic and thrilled to have been elected student trustee, a role that she’ll have to juggle with school work, two part-time jobs, extracurricular activities and her life outside of school. She’s looking forward to meeting and talking with other students who also want to make a difference in their communities.
And she’s grateful for the other G7 representatives at the conference—”They taught me so much,” she says—as well as outgoing student trustee Chloe Samson who has been giving her advice and will help with her transition into the role.
“I promised in my speech that I will make them proud,” she says. With her passion and commitment, that’s almost a foregone conclusion.
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