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Two students to sit on Lester B. Pearson School Board – a first in Quebec

  • Daniel Gabrielli, left, from Beaconsfield High School and Samantha Brady from Westwood Senior in Hudson.
    Daniel Gabrielli, left, from Beaconsfield High School and Samantha Brady from Westwood Senior in Hudson.
    Photo credit: Pierre Obendrauf , The Gazette

Westwood Senior High School student Samantha Brady and Beaconsfield High School student Daniel Gabrielli are forging new ground.

The two have been named student commissioners with the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s Council of Commissioners, a first in the province.

The council sets policy and administers the Lester B. Pearson School Board, which has an annual budget of more than $200 million.

The Grade 11 students joined the 21 elected officials and two parent members elected by the Central Parents’ Committee for the Council of Commissioners meeting on Dec. 17.

The students do not have a vote, but they will be paid a stipend and will be able to claim expenses connected to their work with the council.

“I’m a little nervous,” Brady said. “But I want to help in any way I can, even if it means just giving feedback from a student’s point of view.”

It is exactly that point of view that commissioner Suanne Stein Day thinks will help the council make more informed decisions.

“To have input from the very people we are serving will be invaluable,” Stein Day said. “Students see things differently. We are making decisions that affect them directly. We need to hear what they have to say.”

Gabrielli was chosen by the council because he is the president of the Central Students’ Committee (CSC), which has student representatives from each of the school board’s 11 schools. The committee plans activities that will encourage student involvement. Its fundraising initiatives raised $20,000 for the Terry Fox Run this year.

Brady was selected, by vote, by the CSC. Both students have been members of the student committee since they were in Grade 8.

“It feels really cool to have been chosen,” Gabrielli said. “Hopefully, we will make a difference. But I’m going to do a lot of listening at the beginning. I’m a bit nervous because it’s a big responsibility, but I’m also really excited. Up to this point it’s been hard for students’ ideas to get heard at the council level.”

Gabrielli, who hopes to become a school principal one day, is a very busy Beaconsfield High senior.

Along with CSC and commissioner duties he plays saxophone and clarinet in three school bands, which means attending three early-morning practices a week. And he is president of student council.

He plans to apply for an Honours Social Sciences program at John Abbott College next year.

Brady will apply to Dawson College’s 3D Animation and Computer Generated Images program.

“I think my leadership experience can be applied to any career I choose,” she said.

“I was very shy at the beginning of high school, but when I joined the CSC, I made new friends. Every year we go away for a leadership retreat. You get to know everybody from all different grades. Nobody judges anybody. It helps build your confidence so much.”

Brady also has multiple irons in the fire for her senior year. Along with her CSC and commission meetings, she plays volleyball, takes karate and plays guitar and trumpet.
“I’m pretty busy,” the 16-year-old said. “But so far, I’m managing pretty well.”

kgreenaway@montrealgazette.com

Twitter: @greenawaygaz

One comment

  1. By ALLISON ROBINSON

    Congrats to the students Samantha and Daniel as commissioners for the Lester B Pearson School Board. It is vital to have the voices of the students heard. This is an integral part of moving foreard in a positive direction for our youth of today.

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