SUDBURY—Jocelyn Kuntsi of Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) and Darcy Trudeau of Espanola High School will serve as student trustees on Rainbow District School Board (RDSB) for the 2022-2023 school year. They will also co-chair the student senate which includes representatives of the board’s secondary schools in Sudbury, Espanola and Manitoulin Island.
“I would like to welcome Jocelyn Kuntsi and Darcy Trudeau to their new roles,” said RDSB chair Bob Clement, at a meeting last week. “I know they will both make an immense contribution to the board as they represent the student voice. They will have an opportunity to experience the decision-making process and learn more about public education locally and provincially.”
“I am very honoured and excited to represent the students and schools (within the RDSB),” Ms. Kuntsi told the board. “Darcy and I will be able to collaborate (on ideas and projects).”
Bruce Bourget, director of education for RDSB, took part in the swearing in ceremony for both student trustees, followed by the board passing a motion appointing both to the RDSB. “I would like to declare a warm welcome to both Jocelyn Kuntsi and Darcy Trudeau as our student trustees,” he said.
Mr. Bourget explained, “Jocelyn Kuntsi is enrolled in the specialist high skills major in agriculture at (MSS). This summer, she attended the SHAD program on a full FIRST robotics scholarship. She served as vice-chair of the student senate in 2021-2022.”
“An all-round student, Jocelyn Kuntsi has been actively involved in her school community throughout high school,” said Mr. Bourget. “She will continue to serve in a variety of roles in Grade 12; co-prime minister on student council, Manitoulin Metal Robotics team captain, SHARE/Go-Green committee member promoting social justice and environmental action, senior band member on baritone saxophone, volunteer tutor, MSS musical, vocal group, talent show performers, Halloween for Hunger organizer, Elementary School STEM Outreach, battery drive organizer and Grade 8 Day organizer. She will also contribute to the Burns Wharf Theatre Players Company and Stratford student advisory committee. In previous years, she participated in Legion public speaking and served as spymaster organizer.”
Darcy Trudeau is the RDSB’s first Indigenous student trustee, said Mr. Bourget. A Grade 12 student at Espanola High School, she is Anishnaabe/Ojibwe from Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation.
“Engaged in school life, Darcy Trudeau values the importance of student participation, noting that extra-curricular activities enrich the school experience,” continued Mr. Bourget. “She helped to organize the water walk that took place at Espanola High School last June. This past school year, she was the goalie for the Espanola High School girls’ hockey team and played for the girls’ co-ed softball teams. In 2022-2023, she hopes to continue playing hockey and softball. She also plans to help organize cultural events at Espanola High School.”
“Darcy Trudeau has several goals as Indigenous student trustee,” said Mr. Bourget. “She plans to be an advocate for students, encourage more Indigenous students to be more involved in school and the community, foster more Indigenous representation, and organize board-wide events.”
“Involvement in school and school life is important to me because I believe that it shows that you are determined to make a difference in your school and it shows that you are a good role model and student,” said Ms. Trudeau. “Being involved in the school will encourage more students to be involved throughout the school year. Student voice matters because it is important for people to hear what students have to say. We make up the majority of the people in the schools. Also, it’s important for the students’ voices be heard in order to make change for the better.”
“Student voice can transform the opportunities for future cohorts,” agreed Ms. Kuntsi. “Having a forum to convey concerns that are not always visible to an external eye is crucial to making students feel heard and safe in their place of learning.”
Ms. Kuntsi said the key to success for students is giving them a reason to want to be at school, whether it’s through the curriculum, friends, sports, the arts or other extra-curricular activities. “When students are part of shaping the school culture, they can create events and clubs that make them feel invested in their school and, therefore, in their own education.”
“Being from Manitoulin Island, I know that it is hard to connect students from different schools across the board simply due to distance,” said Ms. Kuntsi. “However, I think that through social media and online meetings there is great potential for strengthening inter-school relationships.”
“We look forward to working with both of you,” said Mr. Bourget.
“I would like to wish a warm welcome to both of you,” said Island trustee Margaret Stringer. “I look forward to working with both of you and hearing the student voice on the board.”
“I’m so incredibly proud of both of these girls for standing up, speaking out on behalf of your school and fellow students,” said Trustee Judy Hunda.
“I would like to join in welcoming our two new student trustees, and it is nice to see everyone back on the board for a new school year,” said Trustee Doreen Dewar. “I continue to be amazed at the work our staff does all summer and during the school year. I look forward to this coming year.”