Student council at Diamond Jenness Secondary School (DJSS) is breaking the mold and leaving campus.
They want to host a regional conference for other student councils in the South Slave and possibly the territory to find common ground and learn from each other.
“We want to know what kind of problems or situations they’re facing that could be like us,” said Kyla Milne at a meeting Jan. 14.
The current DJSS council is the first to be elected in five years and has been meeting regularly since last November. While others have come and gone in the intervening time, they were not elected by the student body. In addition to running events like dances and the Goatfest fundraiser, they have also been meeting with Mayor Andrew Cassidy and Hay River Metis Council President Wally Schumann on a regular basis. Milne said the political pair have encouraged the students to get involved in the community outside the school as well as within.
“They wanted us to look further away and outside of the school to see what we can do and what we can learn,” said Milne.
The student-led council decided, however, that it wanted to have a theme or idea to present before organizing such conference and inviting students from Fort Resolution, Fort Providence, and Fort Smith.
“This would be the first of its kind in the NWT,” Schumann told The Hub. “We’re encouraging student council to host the event in Hay River to exchange ideas and get input from around the region.”
Schumann said beyond the benefits of the conference itself, event planning would be a good experience that would build skills and confidence for the students. Along with roundtable discussions, Schumann envisioned guest speakers and activities all over town.
“They’ve tended to be focused on school events,” he said. “That’s great, but Andrew and I wanted to get them thinking outside of the classroom and the school and more about the community and whole surrounding area.”
Schumann said as a student council, the habitual role is to be a bit of a social organization more than anything, but adds there is always potential for more.
“I’m trying to get them to plan this themselves,” he said. “To run with it and we’ll help them. They can have some real power, we’re just trying to help them bump it up a level.”