On February 27, 2023, Eye on the Storm attended Ben Cameron’s presentation about what he does as a Student Trustee, including responsibilities and more. Ben Cameron is a grade 11 student, attending Dunbarton High School. He was elected as our student trustee for Pickering-Ajax for 2022-2023. Additionally, this event was held with the intention of allowing students to learn more about the role of the Student Trustee, and to provide their opinions about what would make the school environment a better place.
What inspired you to apply for this position?
I’m a nerd for things regarding laws and politics. My friend Kayla was the student trustee and recommended it to me, so I applied.
How did you get to this position? Also, was it a struggle?
Basically, it’s a whole process to get to the position of Student Trustee, involving basically flipping a coin, and a bunch of other things. Candidates are selected to go through a process first citywide and then board wide. It also took lots of work and effort. One thing I would say is that it was a struggle to get people to listen who don’t want to hear you, because the board is a slow moving machine.
What suggestions do you have for someone interested in your pathway?
To work with people and work with educators along with people who lead. Being persistent and able to communicate — in reality, being “annoying.” Being able to learn and adapt to this new environment. Also just being humble. You need to understand the system, and how to be a team player.
What exactly is your job as a student trustee?
My job is to listen to students and what they want. The job consists of three major parts. There is the board of trustee, being on the student senate and OSTA (Ontario Student Trustees Association) It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s so worth it. I want to make sure that all student’s voices are heard.
Board of trustees: Decide on policies, craft budget, and strategic plans about students education
Senate: 2-3 students who meet a month (student voices)
OSTA: Go to conferences to ensure the curriculum is effective for students in all aspects
Has this always been a major passion of yours?
I’ve always been a student council person. I first joined in grade 9 and I enjoy working in leadership roles.
What are some changes you’d like to make to benefit students?
Currently, I’m working on making a new election process so that all students can vote on student trustees, and making Eid a school holiday. The challenge is also getting people who don’t want to listen, to listen.
Students attending J.Clarke were then provided with the opportunity to discuss some problems with the school systems. Some issues brought up were
– Bathrooms Incidents: toilet seats, proper latches, preventing students from “unscrewing toilet seats” – – Vandalism
– Access to resources
– Food in the cafeteria: including vegan, halal and other choices
Do you prefer pineapple on pizza?
Yes, I love pineapple on pizza.
Overall, the meeting was a success! Students enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the community and what we can do to improve it. Additionally, students left the meeting with a much better understanding of what the Student Senate and Student Trustees do, and how it helps students.
To Learn More about the Student Senate or the Board of Trustees, check out these links.