Corbin Basso, Pia Khaira and Alan Phuong organized the first Prince Rupert Student Voices Forum on April 11 at The Crest Hotel. (Shannon Lough / The Northern View)

Students find their voices at inaugural forum in Prince Rupert

Charles Hays Secondary School students organized Student Voice for their peers on April 11

Charles Hays Secondary Students hosted the first ever Student Voice Forum in Prince Rupert at the Crest Hotel on April 11.

The full-day forum was meant to give voice, and create conversations, with students from the region. Among their peers they discussed healthy relationships, mental health, sexual health, and at lunch they discussed educational matters with school trustees.

The event got its northern roots from Corbin Basso, Pia Khaira and Alan Phuong, who travelled to a Student Voices forum in Vancouver in October 2018. They learned how to adapt the event and bring it to students in Prince Rupert.

“The Student Voice Forum is an opportunity for students to express their ideas and share opinions in a space that is protected to them,” Phuong said.

The first session addressed what ‘Student Voice’ means to the many participants around the room. They designed posters with messages and displayed them at back of the room. The following session dealt with relationship health, when students debated topics such as sharing online passwords with a partner.

“We’re pretty much all coming together as one to learn about the different things that could help you in your life at school, maybe help you with making friends,” Basso said.

At lunch, each table sat with someone from the board of education, and they were encouraged to chat about the school system, what is working and isn’t working for the students. The new flex time introduced this year, is an example of what students raised as being a challenge to cram each class in before lunch, with very little time to get from one class to another.

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“In the north, school districts’ opinions aren’t heard as much because it is harder and less accessible for the government to come and do talks and workshops, this is a great way to include us in the conversation,” Khaira said.

The second half of the day addressed anxiety and stress, and physical health.

Student Voice is sponsored by the BC Principals and Vice-Principals Association. The organizers for the Prince Rupert forum were given a small budget to put the event together. The students are heading back to Vancouver on April 26 to share their results from the event.

READ MORE: Young Prince Rupert scientist, Cameron Sawka, off to Canada-Wide Science Fair

Shannon Lough | Editor
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