This fall, Hannah is attending the University of Western Ontario to study International Relations after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Westdale Secondary in the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. Over the past two years, she has served as a two-term student trustee for the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board. As part of her responsibilities entering her second term as a student trustee, she served as the 2015-2016 Operations Officer for the Ontario Student Trustee’s Association – l’Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario
Throughout her high school career Hannah has had a passion for youth advocacy in Ontario’s education system, as well as in her own community of Hamilton. She has been a member of the Minister of Education’s Student Advisory Council; where she had a number of opportunities to speak with the Minister of Education on behalf of her peers about Ontario’s education system. She started a youth advisory council for the past mayor of Hamilton; to provide a platform for youth in Hamilton to advocate about their needs and wants in the community. She has received multiple Ministry of Education Speak Up grants on different projects that have helped transition students into high school. She has also graduated from the Asper Foundation Human Rights and Genocide program. In her free time, she enjoys being involved in her school community; which she plans to continue throughout university.
As a Student Trustee, she was able to ensure that student consultations on Board policy became a more consistent process. This had an impact on HWDSB’s new strategic directions, as well as student engagement and transitions reporting.
While working on OSTA-AECO’s Executive Council she helped to ensure that committee’s could see out their initiatives including; a province wide student voice survey, the creation of a student trustee handbook and provincial awards for student voice.
This year Hannah is very excited to take on the role of Chief Executive Officer for the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association -l’Association des élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario The education sector in Ontario is constantly developing as the government attempts to work with educators to create the best learning environments for students. The incoming Executive of OSTA AECO will play an important role in this development and deliver the voice of students from across the province to the Ministry of Education.
Kayvon Mihan is a grade 12 student at AY Jackson Secondary School in Kanata, a small township in the Ottawa valley. At school, Kayvon is a student who is involved in his academics as well as the extracurricular opportunities that surround him. He has been involved with anti-bullying and mental wellness campaigns, along with students’ council and a few athletics teams. Kayvon’s involvement in extracurricular activities began in middle school where he was given the opportunity to chair a committee that planned major student events. It was in this role where his understanding of the importance of student involvement in the school community began to develop.
Upon entering high school, Kayvon was elected to his student’s council in both grade 9 and 10 as a class representative, and was later elected as student senator to represent the voice of his school at monthly senate meetings. Shortly after his election as student senator, Kayvon was elected as one of the youngest student trustees in nearly a decade at the OCDSB. Upon his re-election as student trustee for the 2016-2017 school year, alongside Alexander MacDonald, Kayvon made the decision to run for President of OSTA-AECO with the support of his previous co-trustee Ella Stewart, and close colleagues within the association.
In his free time, Kayvon works at a family fun centre in Ottawa and is also a member of the 872 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron. Now in his fifth year as a cadet, Kayvon has attained both his glider and private pilot’s licenses and strives to give back to the program and to the younger and newer cadets who now share the same passion as him. In addition to Cadets, Kayvon formerly trained in Karate where he attained a second degree black belt after having trained for seven years, and competed internationally for four years. Kayvon earned back to back gold medals at the WKC National Karate Championships in 2011 and 2012, and has additionally earned two bronze medals at the WKC World Karate Championships in 2011 and 2012 while fighting as a part of team Canada.
In the future, Kayvon hopes to study finance and law with the hopes of becoming a corporate lawyer, and later entering the world of politics. Kayvon is profoundly excited to be working with OSTA-AECO, and hopes to be a part of a team that will help influence positive, tangible change within the education system.
Nicolas Bottger is a grade 12 student at Father Bressani Catholic High School, in Vaughan, Ontario. He is 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 represents 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.
As president of the Catholic Board Council, Nicolas hopes to focus on the inclusivity of Catholicism and the promotion of love within the Church for all people. He knows that together, in unity, anything is possible. 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 11 student at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario. She is a student trustee for the Halton District School Board, representing over 60 000 students. Dasha is incredibly honored and excited to have been elected President of the Public Board Council.
At her school, Dasha is a senior executive on the debate club and the Founder and President of the Law and Mock Trial Society. Outside of school, Dasha is a top ranked competitive debater. Since grade seven, she has competed all over Canada and around the world in countries such as the United States, England, Germany, Singapore, Turkey, and the Czech Republic. Dasha is a Canadian Junior National Champion, two-time Pan American Champion, and winner of multiple national-level university tournaments. When she was in grade 8, Dasha was selected to be a member of the Canadian National Debate Team. Since then, she has been a part of the Canadian team at two World Championships. At both of those World Championships, Canada reached the grand final and placed second in the world.
Dasha channels her communication and persuasion skills into her passion for student advocacy. This past summer, she worked as a student advisor for the Halton Industry Education Council, an organization which connects industry leaders, educational experts, and youth. She was a member of the Because I Am a Girl speaker’s bureau and a featured speaker at the YMCA Peace Breakfast and the Halton Our Kids Network Do Your Part Conference.
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.
Kevin Zheng is proud to set precedent and serve as the first elected two term Student Trustee of the Durham District School Board. Representing nearly 70,000 students, Kevin is excited to continue to represent student voice at the board table and bring real tangible student-led change.
Kevin is honored to have been elected as Vice-President of Public Board Council and hopes to use his experience to create student-led change on the provincial level. Kevin firmly believes in the importance of equity and equal access to opportunity. The only limit to a student’s success should be his/her effort. Though he admits there are uncontrollable factors, he knows that education plays an essential role in breaking barriers and understands that cooperation and unity are the necessary to do so.
In his first term as student trustee, he introduced several initiatives to foster student cooperation and unity within his board and pushed forward programs to provide more opportunities to students. Aside from serving as a student trustee, Kevin has also been heavily involved within his school and community. Similar to his role as student trustee, Kevin also represents his peers on the city and school level serving as a youth councillor for his city and prime minister for his school’s student council.
Next year, as vice-president of the Public Board Council, Kevin hopes to extend his work from the regional level into the provincial level and looks forward to succeeding with the rest of the executive team.
Manuela Zapata is a grade 12 student at St. Thomas Aquinas CHS in Oakville, Ontario and her second year as a student trustee representing the students of the Halton Catholic District School Board. She is excited and ready to have been elected the Vice President of the Catholic Board Council, of OSTA-AECO for the 2016-2017 term and cannot wait to serve the Catholic students of Ontario.
Throughout her first term as Student Trustee, Manuela was a key member in helping to plan and organize conferences for the students of the HCDSB, with the hope of creating and promoting unity among students. Manuela is passionate about raising awareness for mental health, and is honoured to have played a role in planning the annual Bullying Prevention Gala for her board. Becoming a Student Trustee has changed Manuela’s life for the better, and she is constantly in amazement at the power of students, and what the student voice is truly capable of.
Manuela has always believed that hard work, dedication and determination can help you to achieve your goals! She strives to be a leader in her school community, and a strong, comforting voice to her peers. Manuela is an active member of her schools Student Council, and Best Buddies club, which is a club aimed at connecting students with intellectual disabilities to their school community.
Catholic Education has helped Manuela define who she is and what she stands for. It has been incredible to grow up in an education system that encompasses her faith and morals each day. She looks forward to serving the Catholic students of Ontario, and is thankful for the opportunity to do so.
She is an aspiring medical student and loves to study the human body and how it works. A strong source of joy for Manuela, is the knowledge and skills she has learned through volunteering at The Hospital For Sick Children. She also loves to play volleyball, watch movies, and spend time with her family and friends!
Stefan Suvajac is currently a grade 12 student at London Central Secondary School in London, Ontario. In 2015, he was elected to serve as the student trustee for the Thames Valley District School Board; representing, in partnership, with a co-trustee over 70,000 Students. His belief in energizing student activity and the student voice in decisions made about their own schools is his major priority. He believes students should be active in changing a current misdirection in policy and attitude in the education system toward Aboriginals, LGBTQ students and new coming students to Canada. Stefan also believes that a fundamental level of financial literacy should be guaranteed to all graduating students from within Ontario’s secondary school system.
Another one of his core beliefs is that by working to create and promote measures inviting inclusivity into school communities, communication with students, and perpetual innovating within the education system, an atmosphere which fosters the establishment of measures directly targeting the above mentioned issues and aiming to make the required improvements is also created. Stefan intends to use his time as a student trustee and member of OSTA-AECO to assist in the creation of these measures.
Being an active member of his community is very important to Stefan. In school, he has co-founded both the Model UN club and the Debate club, serving as an executive member of the investment club, successfully competing in DECA, while also volunteering time at the city’s food bank, multiple charity runs, his church, and by serving as director of public relations for Interact London.
His focus on academics and extra-curricular activities is matched only by his commitment to physical activity and reading. He enjoys skiing and has been a competitive skier on a provincial level for 6 years and also represented his school as a member of his High School’s track and field team. Later, he further channeled his passion for physical activity and leadership by working as a ski racing coach at the London Ski Club. He is also a committed reader with an interest in modern history and ideas that have changed the world.
Stefan is very excited to see what challenges and experiences the 2016-2017 school year will bring and looks forward to using this year as an opportunity to further his vision of an inclusive, innovative education system which provides the highest quality education to all of Ontario’s students. He is honoured and eager to be a member of the executive council of OSTA-AECO and, once again, looks forward to the new school year.
Shams Mehdi is a grade 11 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 Affairs Officer for OSTA-AECO. He is excited to be working alongside his colleagues on the Executive Council as well as the OSTA-AECO Communications Committee.
Karina Dubrovskaya is a Grade 12 student in the Extended-French and Advanced Placement programs at Bishop Allen Academy. She is a Student Trustee from the Toronto Catholic District School Board, serving the second of two terms. Karina is thrilled to work with the Student Trustees at OSTA-AECO to promote the French student voice, and to build new relations between French and English students in Ontario.
Karina Dubrovskaya est une élève de 12ième année dans les programmes de français enrichi et Advanced Placement à l’école Bishop Allen. Elle est une élève conseillère du conseil scolaire catholique du district de Toronto, au service du second de deux termes. Karina est ravie de travailler avec les élèves conseillers et conseillères de l’Ontario pour promouvoir la voix des étudiants francophones, et de construire de nouvelles relations entre les étudiants francophones et anglophones en Ontario.
In her own school board, Karina is a co-chair of the Catholic Student Leadership Impact Team. She organizes monthly general assemblies open to all secondary students. These general assemblies are full of speakers, volunteer opportunities and leadership development. She was an emcee at the When Faith Meets Pedagogy and Voices That Challenge conferences, which had the Kielburger brothers as keynotes.
Dans son conseil scolaire, Karina est une co-président pour le Catholic Student Leadership Impact Team. Elle organise des assemblées générales mensuelles ouvertes à tous les élèves du secondaire où ils ont des conférenciers, des possibilités de bénévolat et le développement du leadership. Elle était un maître de cérémonie à When Faith Meets Pedagogy et Voices That Challenge qui avaient les frères Kielburger comme conférenciers.
She traveled to Superior North with 15 other students, through a partnership that TCDSB has built with SNCDSB. She learned about First Nations culture and was educated on the many issues affecting FNMI students. In return, she offered leadership workshops to the elementary students. She found an immense respect for these students and is passionate about continuing to strengthen this partnership and advocating for FNMI students in the future.
Elle a voyagé à Superior-Nord avec 15 autres étudiants, pour un partenariat que TCDSB a construit avec SNCDSB. Elle a appris à propos de la culture des Premières Nations et a été instruit sur les nombreuses problèmes touchant les élèves PNMI. En retour, elle a offert des ateliers de leadership aux élèves du primaire. Elle a trouvé un immense respect pour ces étudiants et se passionne pour continuer à renforcer ce partenariat et préconiser pour les étudiants PNMI à l’avenir.
In her school, Karina was a core team member for the Camp Olympia leadership team. She organized a catholic leadership camp for over 300 students. She is also a camp counselor for their orientation camp at Muskoka Woods. She also received a $1200 grant from the youth and philanthropy initiative for a French video, she created for the Children’s Aid Foundation.
Dans son école, Karina était une membre exécutive pour l’équipe Camp Olympia. Elle a organisé un camp de leadership catholique pour plus de 300 étudiants. Elle est également un conseiller de camp pour leur camp d’orientation à Muskoka Woods. Aussi, elle a reçu une subvention pour la jeunesse et philanthropie de 1200 $ pour une vidéo en français, qu’elle a créé pour la fondation d’aide à l’enfance.
Outside of her school board, Karina dedicates numerous hours to volunteering for the Parkinsons society of Central and Northern Ontario. She volunteers at their annual Parkinsons Superwalk, Tulip Sales and Cut-A-Thon raising awareness and money for the society. Her outreach extends to creating a video and play raising awareness for Parkinsons, placing 1st at the provincial Destination Imagination competition and qualifying for the Global Finals in Tennessee. Fueled by a passion for education, she also volunteers at a free homework help club tutoring students from k-12 and works at Kumon as one of their tutors as well.
En dehors de son conseil scolaire, Karina consacre de nombreuses heures à faire du bénévolat pour la société Parkinsons du Nord et Centre de l’Ontario. Elle fait du bénévolat à leur Parkinsons Superwalk, Tulip Sales et Cut-A-Thon pour récolter des fonds et sensibilisation pour la société. Son aide sociale étend à la création d’une vidéo de la sensibilisation pour Parkinsons. Elle est venue 1er au concours Destination Imagination provinciale et a qualifié pour les finales mondiales dans le Tennessee. Remplie par une passion pour l’éducation, elle bénévole aussi à une aide aux devoirs gratuits pour des étudiants de k-12 et travaille à Kumon comme un de leurs tuteurs ainsi.
On a personal note, Karina has a love for travelling and hopes to one day become a doctor who helps overseas.
Sur une note personnelle, Karina a un amour pour le voyage et espère un jour devenir un médecin qui aide à l’étranger.
Katie Yao will be attending Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, in Sudbury ON, this fall for her final year of high-school. She is truly honoured to have been elected as Student Trustee for the Rainbow District School Board and to be able to serve as the 2016-2017 Operations Officer for OSTA-AECO. She has fallen in love with this organization and what it stands for. She has a passion for student voice and is ready to create a positive change on the outlook of our education system in Ontario in the eyes of a student. She wants to inspire students to get involved and realize the power they have in their education.
With the position of Operations Officer, Katie is overjoyed to be able to work alongside all of the committees in supporting and aiding them toset and achieve their goals. She has a great interest in all aspects of each committee and she has been inspired by all the work they have completed. Katie believes that the potential for future initiatives are limitless.
Katie has been an active member in her Student Government since grade 7. She was elected as Communications Officer in grade 10 and President in grade 11. She also aided in creating a Board-Wide Talent Show as well as a Board-Wide Senate conference which focused on leadership and mental health in the past year.
Outside of school and senate, Katie has spent the past summer creating a business called The Sudbury Drive-In. She put countless hours into creating a Drive-In Movie theater to bring her community together and bring back a classic experience for all. This experience has taught her that anything can be accomplished and achieved no matter how far the goal may be. Katie has been working for the past 2 years, and will continue to do so, at Science North as a Bluecoat Science Demonstrator helping to educate Sudbury’s youth through fun hands-on experiments and workshops. She’s grateful to be able to meet a wide variety of people who have traveled far, whether that be Toronto, Germany or China, to visit the science center and hear their stories.
In her free time, Katie loves reading, playing the piano, creating art, adventuring outside and being surrounded by her best friends. She is eager for the upcoming year to be able to meet and become closer with this amazing group of individuals in OSTA-AECO. She looks forward to not only what this experience will do for her, but more importantly what she can do with this experience for the organization and for the students of Ontario.
Alex MacDonald is currently a grade 11 student at Earl of March Secondary School, in Ottawa Ontario. In 2016 he was elected alongside Kayvon Mihan to represent over 72 000 students in the Ottawa Carleton District School Board. Alex values the right to education very much, and strives to protect and shape the system which he believes in so much.
Alex’s involvement began when he was 10 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 Mental Health and Mental Health Awareness. Thanks to the hard work of many individuals Alex was able to attend the Ontario Public Students Wellness Summit (OPSWS), and discuss mental health related topics and issues facing youth today. From the discussions and presentations at OPSWS he helped to facilitate a Mental Health Awareness Week organized by his school’s senator.
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 first term as Student Trustee and Administrations Officer, Alex is an avid traveller, actor, singer and musician. He is also very passionate about business, politics and law, and hopes to one day be able to encourage equality and justice on a professional level.
Connor Webster is a grade 12 student attending Fellowes High School in Pembroke, Ontario. He is currently serving his second year as a two-term student trustee for the Renfrew County District School Board and is extremely excited to enter the 2016-2017 academic year serving in the role of Professional Development Officer for the Ontario Student Trustees’ Association – l’association eleves counsellor de l’ontario.
Connor hopes to bring his unique insight of the educational issues faced in rural, northeastern Ontario to the OSTA-AECO executive team. Connor strives to serve as a leader for his peers, exemplifying a character of intelligence, passion, and perseverance and raised on small-town values of hard work and pragmatism. As Professional Development Officer, he aims for an unforeseen level of conference organization and efficiency, and hopes to oversee exceptional professional development for every student trustee in the province. Conference success ultimately rests in his paramount objective- positive reception and valued experiences.
In his first full year as student trustee, Connor aimed to foster an environment of equality and acceptance for every student in the RCDSB; promoting safety and inclusivity to ultimately benefit student well-being and student achievement. He worked closely alongside the Renfrew County District School Board’s Student Success and Mental Health team leads to plan the first ever Renfrew County Youth and Educator’s Forum on Inclusion, a conference which served to cultivate, and celebrate LGBTQ+ culture in every RCDSB secondary school. An outspoken advocate for mental health support and positive well-being within school communities, Connor sought board-wide student involvement throughout National Mental Health Week. He enters his second year as student trustee advocating for the formation of the Renfrew County District School Board’s first ever Student Senate, to affirm the importance and impact student voice possesses at the board level through collaborative and insightful student governance. He is excited to work alongside his co-student trustee for the 2016-2017 academic year, Nicholas Edge.
Connor has maintained a role on student council throughout his time in high school and is an active leader in school athletics. A memberof the soccer team since ninth grade, he captained Fellowes to a silver medal at the Eastern Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association finals in 2015. He was also a member of the junior boys basketball team for his first two seasons in high school. In his free time Connor enjoys organized sports outside of school and spending time with friends and family. Raised in a community on the banks of the Ottawa River, he can’t imagine a better locale in the world, and a more beautiful place to spend any month of the year. After high school he plans on studying commerce and international law.
Ben Smith is a grade 11 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.