School District 51 (Boundary) has sworn in student trustees Abby Segstro, Jacob Colin and Payton Maffioli.

“School District 51 is thrilled to welcome Abby, Jacob and Payton to their new roles,” superintendent Anna Lautard said in a news release.

“Their passion, curiosity and sense of community will be instrumental in helping SD 51 fulfill its initial goal of establishing a district student advisory council to ensure student voices are heard at the board table.”

Segstro is graduating from Grand Forks Secondary School this year and has been part of the strategic planning committee. According to the news release, Segstro found exercising her voice as a student very important.

Segstro, who works part-time at A&W, says she had the privilege of sharing her thoughts and opinions about how they can change the local school system to be more inclusive and equal and how they can incorporate ideas from people of all ethnicities and backgrounds to achieve that.

She is currently studying English, world history, pre-calculus and sewing and is working hard to get accepted into the British Columbia Institute of Technology computer systems technology program with an interest in helping design video games more divergent than current ones.

Colin, who is graduating from Boundary Central Secondary School, was part of the strategic plan dream team, bringing a voice to students in the west side of the district. Colin is involved with the school Spirit Club, which is working to improve school culture through fun events and activities as well as supporting numerous charitable activities. Among the memorable activities are an annual food drive, sponsoring Pink Shirt Day and organizing various fun school days such as Western Day.

He is an electrical apprentice working part-time at Vaagen Fibre Canada and is studying Pre-Calculus 12, Entrepreneurship 12 and Wood Shop 12 with plans to attend Okanagan College.

Maffioli is graduating from Grand Forks Secondary and aspires to be an environmental lawyer and advocate. She cares about protecting nature, preserving the rights of people who need a voice and to create a more sustainable and safer world.

Being Métis, Maffioli has connected closer to her heritage and has been motivated to encourage the education system to raise awareness and teach about Indigenous history. She is the student liaison with the Boundary Indigenous Education Advisory Council.

“It was really interesting seeing how the board members connect with the public and what kind of information they go over,” Maffioli said of her first meeting.

“I have never been in an adult meeting like that. I was like ‘this is what I’m going into when I’m older.’ It was kind of like an out-of-body experience.”

Maffioli says she sees great value in presenting a youth perspective to the board.

“They don’t [normally] get an inside look at what the teenage mind is going through. As a teenager myself, I feel really great about being able to share my thoughts, opinions, and values with them.

“This is an interesting strategy we’re taking on. I think it will be very beneficial for our whole school district and maybe even the broader community.”

One of the main areas of SD 51’s strategic plan centers around student voice and agency.

“We believe that students who are engaged, passionate and have a voice in and power over their learning are more fulfilled, not only in school, but outside of school as well,” says Lautard.

“Our goal is to build a framework through which SD 51 students will have the opportunity to voice concerns, raise issues, and advocate for themselves and their peers. The three student trustees are the liaisons between the district and the student body of SD 51’s secondary schools.”