MV student among RCDSB Student Senators on Parliament Hill

Submitted by Renfrew County District School Board

On May 12 Student Senators representing every secondary school in the Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB) held the end of year Student Senate meeting in a committee room of the Senate of Canada building. Highlights of the trip include meeting dignitaries, a special tour of the new Senate of Canada and House of Commons buildings, and watching a live session of Question Period from the public gallery.

“It was an incredible experience to see our Federal government in action, ” said Student Trustee Ava Beggs of Madawaska Valley District High School, her counterpart Taylor Novosedlik of Valour JK-12 School agreed “on behalf of everyone, we truly appreciate the absolutely amazing day.” Above from left: Grace Ding, Taylor Novosedlik and Ava Beggs (Photo supplied)

In Ottawa, students were joined by Director of Education Pino Buffone, Chair of the Board, Susan Humphries, Trustee Dave Dobson, Executive Officer of Public Relations Meredith Caplan Jamieson, and System Principal for Student Success (7-12), Krista Recoskie. They met at the Cenotaph, the national war memorial. From there, the group arrived at the Senate of Canada.

Sponsored by Senator Rob Black, Student Trustees, Taylor Novosedlik of Valour JK-12 School and Ava Beggs of Madawaska Valley District High School, held the end of year RCDSB Student Senate meeting in a committee room in the offices at the Senate of Canada. Host Senator Rob Black spoke at the meeting, then gave a tour of the Senate of Canada. Students learned that the Senate of Canada moved to the newly renovated former train station across from the Chateau Laurier on Wellington Street, while their permanent home is being restored. Students were awed by the grandeur of the new building.

The group then headed to the House of Commons. They ate lunch at the cafeteria and were joined by current Hill staff, Andrea Reinke, a graduate of Opeongo High School and her boss MP Jean Yip, as well as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, MP Ya’ara Saks, who chatted informally about the work of a Member of Parliament and of staff.

Local Member of Parliament for Renfrew Nippissing Pembroke, MP Cheryl Gallant (Above far left. Photo supplied) joined the crew from RCDSB for a photo. She presented each member of the contingent with a parliamentary pin. Students enjoyed meeting the MP and her staff, a graduate of Renfrew Collegiate Institute.

A special guest, Kevin Bosch gave the group a wonderful tour of the West Block, which is standing in as the House of Commons while the Centre Block is undergoing a lengthy renovation. Students and staff alike were captivated by Kevin’s fascinating knowledge of Canadian history and its former prime ministers.

Highlights of the tour included a visit with Speaker of the House, Anthony Rota, MP for Nippissing Timiskaming (Ontario). Speaker Rota welcomed them in his private dining room, where he explained the multifaceted role of the Speaker. He was joined by Deputy Speaker Chris d’Entremont, MP for West Nova (Nova Scotia). Next stop on the tour was an introduction from another former Opeongo High School graduate Rob Jamieson, a current Senior Advisor to the Minister of Public Safety, to the Sergeant of Arms, Pat McDonnell. Both the Speaker of the House and Sergeant of Arms discussed their knowledge of the Ottawa Valley, including Sergeant McDonnell’s favorite spot, the Antrim Truck Stop, incidentally where students chose to end the long day.

The Student Senate meets several times a year at the Board Office in Pembroke. Their primary focus is on amplifying student voice and achievement. The RCDSB has seven secondary schools, each school elects two students to represent them at Student Senate, which is chaired by the two elected Student Trustees. Two Members of the Board of Trustees, along with staff of the RCDSB also attend Student Senate meetings.

Caplan Jamieson,M. and MacMillan,H.,RCDSB(2023,May12) RCDSB’s Student Senators End Term at a Special Session on Parliament Hill [media release]

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