Nicolas Bottger will be attending Western University in the fall in the Ivey School of Business. He was a two-term Student Trustee at the York Catholic District School Board, where he will be serving his second term. He was elected in April of 2015, and was officially inaugurated at the board table in August of the same year. In his role, Nicolas represented over 55 000 students in the board, from elementary to secondary school.
Nicolas has been heavily involved in his school, partaking in his Student Council, Presidents’ Council, and even started his school’s DECA Chapter. In 2014, he was very fortunate to have been selected as a Junior Team Canada Youth Ambassador to Global Vision’s Trade Mission to China, where he promoted local industries as he aimed to represent the Canadian mining sector. In his first term as Student Trustee, Nicolas was a key member in the planning and organization of conferences for the students of the YCDSB, promoting awareness and providing solutions for the issues affecting youth. He has also had a prominent voice in the running of leadership conferences, and is on the planning committee for the Ontario Catholic Student Leadership Conference which is being hosted by the YCDSB in April of 2017.
For Nicolas, determination, passion, and efficiency achieve goals that make a lasting impact. He encourages everyone to get involved in their community, doing things not for merit, but for the love of doing them. Having been born in Peru, he has seen the many struggles that the less fortunate have had in not only in household economics, but the effects it has had in childhood education, health, and overall state of wellbeing. Living in the USA for 6 years, and more than 7 in Canada, he has learned the power a proper education has on a populous, and the everlasting effects it has on youth. If you can make a difference in a child’s life, you can make a difference in the world.
Throughout his time in the USA and Canada, Nicolas became in love with Catholic Education, as it is now part of who he is and what he stands for. He acknowledges how fortunate he, and hundreds of thousands of other students are to be part of a system that encompass their faith, morals, and values with the education they receive every day.
He is excited to be part of the executive council of OSTA-AECO, he looks forward to the many initiatives being planned for the coming school year.
Dasha Metropolitansky is a grade 12 student at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario. She was re-elected as a student trustee for the Halton District School Board, representing over 60 000 students. This is also Dasha’s second year in OSTA-AECO: before having been elected President of the organization, Dasha served as the President of the Public Board Council.
At her school, Dasha is the founder and President of the Law and Mock Trial Society – one of the most popular and competitive clubs. Outside of school, Dasha is one of the best high school debaters in the world. Since grade seven, she has competed all over Canada and around the world in countries such as the United States, England, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. Dasha is a Canadian Junior National Champion, two-time Pan American Champion, and has made the final or won all of the top university tournaments in Canada. Dasha is likely the youngest debater in history to have been selected for the Canadian national team: she was chosen in grade 8. Since then, she has been a part of the Canadian team at three World Championships in Germany, Singapore and Indonesia. In Germany and Singapore, Canada reached the grand final and placed second overall. In Indonesia, Dasha was ranked the second best high school debater in the world – Canada’s highest individual ranking ever.
Dasha channels her communication and persuasion skills into her passion for student advocacy. She is on the Board of Directors of the Halton Learning Foundation, an incredible local charity which provides emergency funding and subsidies for disadvantaged Halton students.
When Dasha isn’t debating, leading a school club, or speaking at an event, you will likely find her watching an episode of Suits or whipping up a killer chocolate cake.
Ben Smith is a grade 12 student at St. Brother Andre Catholic High School in Markham, Ontario. Ever since his first day of school, Ben has been looking for ways to get involved. Ben has been involved in student government since his first day in elementary school. From playing on just about every sports team imaginable, to leading his high school’s Athletic Council, Ben has been able to create real meaningful change for his peers.
Ben has been able to use his passion for communications to successfully get his school on CTV News, when the school ran a big walk called the B-Strong Walk, a charity Ben holds particularly close to his heart in the fight to end cancer. In addition, one of Ben’s proudest moments in student government, is when he was able to get his school on Hockey Night In Canada, when the school sent alumnus Steven Stamkos a good luck video. The segment aired during Game 7 of the 2015 Eastern Conference Finals.
As Student Trustee of the York Catholic District School Board, Ben brings a unique perspective to student advocacy. His personable and including attitude gives him the opportunity to reach out to those students and stakeholders that others might have difficulty interacting with and getting results from. He brings an attitude to get tasks done quickly, but also a sense of care to get the job done right.
Outside of school, Ben both plays and referees hockey and baseball. Ben is also a prominent up-and-coming journalist and broadcaster. He currently hosts a hockey show on WhiStle Radio in his hometown of Stouffville, Ontario and has interviewed some of the biggest names in hockey. In his young career, Ben has been credentialed as a member of the media by the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Hockey Canada and the National Hockey League (NHL)
He also serves as a sports broadcaster with Rogers Television in York Region, hosting junior hockey games in studio, as well as providing his analysis during select broadcasts. In addition to his radio and television work, Ben writes with Vox Media, Metroland Media and HockeyNow Magazine. He also works in the Public Relations, Cooperate Communications and Marketing field at one of Canada’s top integrated marketing agencies, YOUR BRAND Integrated Marketing Communications.
Ben’s main philosophy in life is that “Decisions Are Made By Those Who Show Up”, and it’s his hope that he will play a part in a team that will inspire all students, no matter what walk of life they come from, to show up to play a part in building an education system that fulfills that unwritten commandment that all people will give their kids better than they have received.
Shams Mehdi is a grade 12 Extended French student at Leaside High School in Toronto, ON and is currently in his first year as Student Trustee of the Toronto District School Board. Shams has been very involved with student advocacy and is very passionate about the issues and concerns of all students.
Shams has been apart of the Toronto District School Board Student Senate since he was in grade 7. He has held positions such as Grade 7/8 representative, Area Co-Chair and Vice President. This year Shams was elected as the first two-term Student Trustee of the TDSB. Shams has also taken part in two Ministry of Education think tanks on the Civics and Careers curriculum.
Outside of school, Shams has been apart of the Army Cadet program for the past four years, achieving the Gold Medallion of the Basic DNC course at CSTC Blackdown. Shams has also been involved with the Sears Drama festival as the director of his school’s play. He was also given the District Award of Merit for his direction on the play. He’s also heavily involved within his community through volunteering for local food banks and fundraising events.
Shams is very excited for his role as Public Board Council President for OSTA-AECO. He is excited to be working alongside his colleagues on the Executive Council as well as the Public Board Council Cabinet.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Alex MacDonald is currently a grade 12 student at Earl of March Secondary School, in Ottawa Ontario. In 2016 he was elected as Student Trustee for the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and continues to represent the 72 000 within the OCDSB for the 2017-2018 school year. Alex was pleased to serve on the Executive Council of OSTA-AECO as Administrations Officer from 2016 to 2017, and looks forward to continuing his work in education. Alex highly values the right to education, and strives to protect and shape the system which he believes in so much.
Alex’s involvement began when he was 10 years old, and championed a proposal to the Parent council asking for new play equipment for his school. Since then his participation in a variety of clubs including the eco club, debate club, student council, parent council, concert and jazz bands, cancer fundraisers, and musicals, has helped to instill a sense of pride and dedication in him, for his community.
Since Alex’s involvement in the school community he has noticed the value of volunteers and support staff, and strives to give back to his community as a thank you to these dedicated individuals and their work that has shaped his life. Through his volunteering, he has been able to support the healthy snack program at his elementary school, support scholastic book fairs for children’s literature and promote parent/student info night’s that cover a diverse range of important topics in education such as Mental Health and internet safety.
Most recently Alex, in coordination with the student senate, has helped to promote direct student engagement in the hopes of creating more equitable opportunities for the students of the OCDSB. Thanks to the hard work of many individuals Alex, along with the Student Senate, was able to host a student voice symposium bringing together students, educators and staff from all walks of the education system.
Throughout his student career Alex has strongly believed in the support of a variety of programs that cater to a diverse and unique student population. He strongly believes that every student deserves the opportunity to participate in something that motivates them and has shown his devotion to this mandate by supporting school programs in many capacities, and continues to support student advocacy and engagement as a Student Trustee.
Along with being in his second term as Student Trustee and as an OSTA-AECO Executive Member, Alex is an avid traveller, actor, singer and musician. He is also very passionate about business, politics and law, and hopes he can, one day, encourage equality and justice on a professional level.
This fall, Katie will be attending the University of Western Ontario to study a dual degree of Health Sciences and Ivey Honours in Business Administration. She recently graduated Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School in Sudbury Ontario and served as the 2016-2017 Student Trustee for the Rainbow District School Board. Katie was also a part of the Executive Council this past year as Operations Officer for the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association – l’Association les élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario.
With the position of Operations Officer, Katie aided the committees in accomplishing their goals, resulting in two new province wide scholarships, a Student Trustee Handbook and video guide, a First Nations Inuit and Metis Advisory Council and the implementation of the new Student Well-Being committee.
Outside of OSTA, Katie spent the past year selling her local business, The Sudbury Drive-In. Last summer she put countless hours into creating a Drive-In Movie theater to bring her community together and bring back a classic family friendly experience for all. In leaving for university, Katie and her business partners sold the company to a young group of homeschooled students to keep the drive-in alive. Katie has also been working for the past 4 years at one of Canada’s most interactive Science Centers, Science North, as a Bluecoat Demonstrator helping to educate Sudbury’s youth through fun hands-on workshops. In her spare time she also volunteered at the local hospital. Katie enjoys being active in many aspects of her community and is eager to continue to do so in a new environment at University.
Katie is excited to be returning to the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association – l’Association les élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario as Policy Officer this upcoming year. She recognizes the importance of position papers and the direct method of putting student voice on paper. She is looking forward to working with the incoming Executive Council to achieve the goals they have set. She knows that this incoming Executive will play a large role in the development of the education system and can’t wait to see what is accomplished.
Nico Tripodi is a grade 12 student at St. Francis Catholic Secondary School, in St. Catharines, with a distinct passion for amplifying student voice. In the spring of 2017, he was elected to serve a second term as Student Trustee of the Niagara Catholic District School Board. At the board table, Nico speaks on behalf of Niagara Catholic’s 23,000 students.
Nico’s multifaceted school involvement has included activities such as rowing, volleyball, student council, choir, mathletes and various social justice committees. Outside of school, Nico has served as the Social Media Coordinator for the 134th Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, spearheading the digital modernization of the largest amateur rowing event in North America. As well, Nico has volunteered as the Logistics Coordinator for AVA Conferencing (Don’t Freak Out!), assisting in the preparation of a financial literacy seminar for secondary and post-secondary students.
A musician at heart, Nico’s involvement in the arts ranges from 8 years of classical vocal training to his work as A DJ for weddings and corporate events. Nico currently performs in a contemporary duo known as Tuscany. Nico has played at numerous venues and festivals throughout the Golden Horseshoe Region. Aside from vocals, Nico plays guitar, piano and ukulele. He is currently exploring digital music production.
Nico has been involved in board-wide student leadership at Niagara Catholic since the eighth grade. He believes that a student leader’s greatest challenge is the larger student body’s general unawareness of student leadership efforts; all students have something to say, although many students are unaware that there is a preexisting platform to assist them in being heard. Nico intends to use his second term of student trustee to promote awareness of Niagara Catholic’s student leadership infrastructure.
Nico’s board-wide goals align with his longterm vision of OSTA-AECO’s public identity. He approaches the position of Public Affairs Officer with a desire to shape the organization’s brand into one that is both relevant and prominent among Ontario’s student population. Nico strives to promote awareness of the organization and its members, creating a provincial environment where student trustees are able to better connect and communicate with their peers.
Entering her second term as a Student Trustee for the Toronto Catholic District School Board, Rhea Carlisle is a grade 12 student at Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School in Toronto, Ontario. As one of the Student Trustees for the TCDSB, Rhea represents the voice of over 92,000 students at a board level. This past year, Rhea Co-Chaired the Catholic Student Leadership Impact Team (CSLIT) where she was able to facilitate two CSLIT Camp getaways, three symposiums lead by the CSLIT Executive Council, ten successful board-wide General Assembly meetings, and a board-wide Voices That Challenge Conference in partnership with Me to We.
Before being elected to serve as a Student Trustee, Rhea was the Secretary of her school’s Student Council, a member of the Safe Schools Ambassador team, and led many extracurricular activities within her school community such as a mental health awareness week.
This year, Rhea is honoured to have been elected as the Operations Officer for the Ontario Student Trustees Association after having served as one of the Co-Chairs for the Ontario Student Voice Awards Committee for a year. She is very excited to be a part of an organization that offers such a unique perspective and strives towards creating a platform where the students of Ontario have their voices heard and recognized. As Operations Officer, she hopes to improve the way Committees connect with the General Assembly of OSTA-AECO. She also will be looking to promote outreach to the students of Ontario so they are aware that their voices are heard and that every student matters. Rhea believes that student voice is essential to promoting a positive and healthy learning environment for all students.
During the summer, Rhea volunteers with an Arts Summer Camp, promoting engagement in the arts as a positive outlet for youth to express themselves. In her spare time, she enjoys perfecting different guacamole recipes and participating in competitive swimming.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Amal Qayum is a grade 11 student attending Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls. Amal is very passionate about student advocacy, as she wholeheartedly believes that students of today will shape the future. She is serving her first term as the first two-year term Student Trustee for the District School Board of Niagara, and is thrilled to be entering the year 2017-2018 as the Professional Development Officer for OSTA-AECO.
Amal has attended schools in three different school boards across Ontario, and has taken part in student government from a very early age. Amal has been a part of student council for 7 years, and has planned numerous events such as Multicultural Night and Mental Wellness Symposiums/initiatives. Outside of school, Amal has spent over 60 hours volunteering, and teaching children how to read/write in Arabic. She has also spent over 70 hours giving free swim lessons to under privileged children, whose families are not able to afford such leisure’s. Amal is an active member within the National Youth Advisory Committee, and has helped the RCMP come up with relevant campaigns to engage youth. She serves as the Student Liaison for the Education Foundation of Niagara, who work tirelessly to provide financial help to the students of DSBN. Amal is also a competitive swimmer, and has placed at OFSAA.
Being an immigrant, Amal is very passionate about providing everyone with equal opportunities, no matter their race/religion or anything that may define them. She knows first hand how hard it is for youth in other countries to be students, which is why she is so passionate about providing education for all. She strongly believes that education is a good place to begin in attempt to fixing several issues that we face in the world today.
Serving as the Professional Development Officer allows Amal to use her passion of planning and providing useful resources to Student Trustees across the province. She is very excited to play a key role in planning three successful conferences for OSTA-AECO in this upcoming year.