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Sudbury Catholic School Students Take Part in Student Voice Initiative

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Catherine McCullough, Director of Education for the Sudbury Catholic District School Board met with the students from St. Charles College, Marymount Academy, St. Benedict and Bishop Alexander Carter to discuss the importance of the student voice in education.

February 26, 2010 - Students from all four of the Sudbury Catholic District School Board’s high schools were in attendance at the Student Voice Initiative on Friday, February 26, 2010 held at Locker by Composite School. This initiative includes three main components which are Speak-Up Projects, the Minister’s Student Advisory Council (MAC) and the Regional Student Forums. The students gathered together to give their input into the review of the Civics curriculum as well as looking at explicit leadership development strategies for students. The day involved larger discussions and presentations and then breaking off into smaller groups to have more focused and in-depth discussions. The Student Voice Initiative was also going on in several other cities simultaneously including London, Thunder Bay, Ottawa and Toronto, with all of the cities connecting via videoconferencing at different times throughout the day. The new Minister of Education, Minister Leona Dombrowsky also connected with the Sudbury student group to be a part of the day’s conversation. Elizabeth Urso, one of the Student Trustees for Marymount Academy as well as President of the English Catholic Board Council was in attendance and spoke about the day’s events. “It gives us a better understanding of the importance of the student voice.” said Urso. “It also allows us to network with people that we don’t normally have a chance to meet or talk to.” Samantha Shewring, a grade 12 student from Marymount Academy was the only student from the Greater Sudbury area selected last year to sit on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council. “The experience was fantastic.” said Shewring. “ It was a great opportunity to get students involved with the Ministry of Education and to be able to go right to the source to make things happen. It is a significant opportunity and being a part of today reinforces the importance of students being involved in their own education.” The Minister of Education’s message spoke to the importance of increasing student engagement and that there was tremendous value in having school guidelines and policies be student driven and be representative of students’ educational needs.

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