Making Connections 2018 Featured Workshop:
Defining Success: Views from the next generation
We all talk about setting goals and supporting success for students – it is the focus of our public education system. But what does success look like for the next generation? Is education more than just a pathway to a particular career? What are young people’s hopes and goals for the future? In this workshop, four members of “the next generation” talked about how they define success and what it means for the future of public education.
Amal Qayum is a grade 12 student at Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls. She is serving her second term as a Student Trustee for the District School Board of Niagara, and is the President of OSTA-AECO. Amal has always been passionate about education and believes that regardless of social, economic or personal circumstances, everyone should have access to quality education. Her involvement in student leadership began at an early age, having been a member of various student councils since grade 4. She has been the President of her school’s multicultural club, coordinated initiatives with the Niagara Falls Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, was a member of the National Youth Advisory Committee, and serves as the student liaison for the Education Foundation of Niagara. Amal is the recipient of the Hope Awards from Pathstones, and a two-time recipient of the Niagara Falls Rotary Club “Service above Self” award. Amal feels very fortunate to have been elected as the President of OSTA-AECO and looks forward to advocating for students at a provincial level. Although Ontario has one of the best education systems in the world, Amal knows that there is more work to be done and strongly believes that students are the best critics of their own system. She eagerly anticipates working with other education stakeholders and providing Ontario students with the best education system possible.
Amal on public education:
“All students regardless of social, economic or personal circumstances, should have access to quality education.”
Herleen Arora (She/Her) is a Career Educator at Ryerson University, Researcher/Consultant, and Co-Founder of Womxn Offering Wisdom. She is a member of People for Education’s NextGen Committee, and is an Ontario Certified Teacher with a Masters of Education in Social Justice from OISE, and a Bachelor of Health Sciences from Western University. Herleen has over ten years of experience in the non-profit and education sector where she has managed and coordinated projects focusing on education, employment and community health across the GTA with organizations such as CivicAction, York Region District School Board, Peel Counts, and the YMCA. In her role at Ryerson, she designs and delivers career education programming and resources that meet the unique needs of students in the Faculty of Community Services and the labour market. As a Researcher and Consultant, Herleen’s expertise lies in planning, implementing and evaluating community-based projects, engaging multiple stakeholders, data and measurement, and evidence-based research. She is a champion for improving the economic and social well-being of marginalized communities, and recently co-founded Womxn Offering Wisdom, a grassroots organization dedicated to supporting the health and well-being of diverse South Asian Womxn through coaching, mentorship, and education. In all her work, Herleen applies a systems thinking approach, which enables her to analyze complex social issues with a holistic, multi-layered lens.
Herleen on public education:
“Public education is complex and requires diverse schools of thoughts, leadership and experiences to lead an education system that connects with student’s identities, lived experiences, and communities.”
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya
Gerri Nakirigya Lutaaya belongs to the Ngonge clan within the Buganda kingdom, and is a member of People for Education’s NextGen Committee. Through her combined academic, professional and lived experience, Gerri maintains a spirited zest for the importance, and power, of education for young people because of its potential to spark action, impact and change on society’s most pressing issues. A graduate of Carleton University’s Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership program, Gerri is committed to Nelson Mandela’s challenge that “a degree means nothing unless you go out into the community to prove yourself.” She also holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from Algonquin College and was a 2016 Inclusion and Philanthropy Fellow through the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy – Canada where she gained current inclusion-oriented education and training on diversity and inclusion practices for the workplace. In addition to her focus on building awareness and strengthening relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, Gerri works closely with CivicAction’s Emerging Leaders Network and is a Board Member with the Young Women’s Leadership Network.
Gerri on public education:
“To me, this quote from Mary McLeod Bethun captures why public education is important: ‘We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.’”
Kherto is a second-year life science student at McMaster University and student researcher at Success Beyond Limits. She is always looking to positively change her community, and believes in leading the younger generation onto a positive path by helping youth academically, socially, and emotionally. Kherto is a huge advocate for doing what you love, and her passion lies in the strengthening of her community. She believes change starts with youth, and involving them in programs and clubs is one of the best ways to create a relationship with them. In high school, Kherto was involved in many clubs and activities, including Success Beyond Limits, a youth program that encourages healthy relationships and academics, and Generation Change, which planned community events such as toy drives and barbecues. Now that she is in university, she is continuing to grow as a leader and work to be a positive influence on youth. She is a member of the “Smiling over Sickness” committee, which gives her the opportunity to build relationships with the patients in the McMaster Children’s Hospital, and the McMaster Global Medical Brigades, which supports under-served rural areas by treating patients and improving their water, sanitation and economic support.
Kherto on public education:
“I believe that in order to succeed, we must be willing to make mistakes so we can learn from them. I believe change begins with the youth in our generation, and including them in programs and clubs is one of the best ways to create a healthy relationship with them.”