Gorick Ng - Toronto District School Board SuperCouncil Speech
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Uploaded on Sep 5, 2011
On April 27, 2010 Gorick delivered an electronic speech at the Toronto District School Board Student SuperCouncil Elections Conference at City Hall highlighting the accomplishments of student leaders in Toronto and Ontario.
Good morning! I'm Gorick Ng. I was Supercouncil Northeast Quadrant Co-Chair from 2007-2008 and TDSB Student Trustee from 2008-2010. I was also President of the Ontario Student Trustees' Association from 2009-2010. I am now in my first year here at Harvard University studying economics with a minor in government.
Even though I can't be with you in person, let me begin by saying how excited I am to be able to chat with you all this morning. It was not too long ago that I was sitting where many of you are sitting now. I was in grade 9. Fast forward four years and the TDSB is a very different place.
When I was Northeast Quadrant Co-Chair we worked with school board trustees to secure $25,000 to start a number of pilot nutrition programs on some of the neediest neighborhoods in the city. Due to popular demand, we started the first ever SAC Handbook, a comprehensive leadership guide for student leaders just like you from across the city. We even organized the first ever "meet the trustees" meeting, bringing together young people with decision makers at the highest level.
Things did not just end there. When I returned the following year as Student Trustee, for the first time in TDSB history we welcomed our first Alternative Schools Represenative to the SuperCouncil, giving a voice to an additional 2000 students. For the first time, we created a contact list of all the student councils across the city, and consulted them whenever an issue concerned young people. We said "no" to teacher cuts, "no" to uniforms without student consultation, and even stopped a board-wide vending machine ban. Also, for the first time, we convinced trustees to allowed students from high schools across the city to attend committee meetings with the top decision makers in the school board.
Just last year, we passed a policy mandating democratically-elected student councils in all middle and high schools in the city. We passed a motion to fix all broken water fountains in schools, and wrote a policy banning course fees for French classes and making the student fee collection process more equitable and more transparent. SuperCouncil had its first student leadership day, and even wrote a report that eventually led to the expansion of outdoor education centres by 4,125 spots.
Through the Ontario Student Trustees' Association, young people have also changed provincial policies around the collection of student fees, and helped reform the civics and careers curriculum.
Of course, the list goes on...
Over the past four years that I have worked with SuperCouncil, I have seen a small group of students tackle some of the biggest issues facing our school system. If the past four years has taught me anything, it is that young people can and do make a difference. And by being here today, you are now a part of that change.
Today is more than just a conference. And SuperCouncil is more than just a group of students. This your chance to find an issue you are passionate about and not just talk about it, but actually do something to fix it. Often times it is easy for us to look at a problem and simply complain. But the fact of the matter is, simply complaining won't make things any better. What we need to do is not shy away from those big issues, but instead be the ones who ask those hard questions and make those tough decisions.
Whether you are a grade 9, 10, 11, or 12 student, there it is never too late to get involved. And who knows - you might be surprised by what you learn along the way. When I was in grade 7 and 8 I mowed lawns for elderly citizens in my neighborhood to help pay the bills at home. When I got to high school I was a part of a free lunch program and decided to give back by fundraising for the Toronto Foundation for Student Success writing policies as a student trustee. At the time I couldn't see the relationship between the backyard and the boardroom. But it was through those experiences that I discovered my passion for helping other people. Looking back it was really as a result of SuperCouncil that I am now studying economics and government in university. But enough about me. Today is all about you and how you choose to respond to this call to service. Have a great day and best of luck to all the candidates.
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