BY ZAINAB FATIMA
On Tuesday, November 28, about 55 students participated in a Student Voice Symposium at the Milton Sports Centre. The trip was organized by Mrs. Kilgour and Mr. Trull. It included students from all grades: 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The purpose was to get students to voice their opinions on important issues, such as mental wellbeing and student engagement, and how the school can improve on them.
The participants made a circle and engaged in games that allowed to break the ice and get everyone feeling comfortable. This was followed by a pizza lunch provided by the staff.
Students participated in many activities which allowed them to share ideas with their peers.
There were large papers on which students wrote ways they felt that MD can become a better place, this was a great opportunity for people to give their true opinions, as the staff said that no idea was off limits. The topics discussed were: bullying / inclusion, support systems and environment, physical wellness, mental wellness, emotional wellness, school spirit, homelife and student engagement.
Student wellness was a major part of the symposium. Teachers wanted to use some of the suggestions the students had given to improve MD Express. Since MD Express is about wellness, it can be great for any student who feels stressed. But the issue is that not all students know about it, however, you can find details on it here.
Some students who participated in the symposium said the following regarding their experience:
“You were nominated by your teacher(s) to participate in this student voice initiative as they felt you have some great opinions that deserve to be heard and are already working towards sharing the Mustang Spirit!”
“I think it was a pretty good experience, I liked how we shared our opinions and solutions for things we could improve here at MD, while interacting with other students.”
“I thought it was nice that we got to meet other student leaders. Me being in grade 13, I don’t really know any of the younger kids. It was nice to see that there’s a lot of student voice.”
“I think it was a really good experience just to meet so many new people even at the school I haven’t talked to before. And at the same time it was very educational to be able to know people and what they stand by and what they think is really important.”
Mrs. Kilgour worked to organize the Student Voice Symposium and News Team member Jasmine Kapoor was able to speak with her about how she felt the day went. Here’s the interview:
Why do you think it is important to hold the student voice symposium?
– Everyone should have a positive high school experience and should have a say in what they feel would make their experience the best it can possibly be.
Do you think the symposium was a success?
– I hope so. It gives us a step to move forward. I hope that those who attended and their friends continue with the initiative.
How do you think the symposium will affect the future of MD?
– It has given us some great information to know what students feel is important and what we as a school should focus on in respect to wellness. We have some great ideas that I hope we can incorporate.
Also, the News Team has an active student voice box, where people can ask for advice, or give suggestions. What’s great is that it is anonymous, which allows people to write without being judged! The members of the News Team will answer the questions weekly, and the replies will be posted on the news site.
Overall, the Student Voice Symposium was where teachers got to know more about how students feel MD can be improved in many areas, like wellness and school spirit.