Inaugural Student Councillor Program a success

by | Jun 21, 2024

Initiative providing high school student representatives a voice on the district council will resume next school year

Tuesday night’s District of Carleton North council meeting marked the close of the inaugural Student Councillor Program, which ran during the 2023-2024 school year.

The program was the brainchild of Carleton North High School (CNHS) student Sarah Lagarde, who served as a student councillor in Smith’s Falls, Ontario, before moving to New Brunswick.

In early 2023, she approached the newly formed council about implementing a similar program locally, citing benefits such as promoting civic and political engagement for students and offering a youthful perspective on the District’s issues. The council enthusiastically accepted the idea, and the program was implemented in the fall of 2023, with LaGarde and Sarah Harvey serving.  

To be eligible, students had to be members of the CNHS Student Council and submit an application for the program, subject to the principal’s approval.

District of Carleton North (DCN) Deputy Mayor Karen Hargrove presents inaugural DCN student council member Sarah LaGarde with a certificate of appreciation at the June 11 meeting. (Sandra Hanson photo)

Once selected, the student councillors attended all regularly scheduled District of Carleton North council meetings. In exchange, council members attended select Carleton North High School student council meetings throughout the year.

Mayor Andrew Harvey called the program a great success,

“It improved communication both ways,” he said. “They participated in any open discussions and meetings and added their different perspectives. They contributed a lot with viewpoints that represented the young people and how issues affect them.”

District of Carleton North (DCN) Deputy Mayor Karen Hargrove presents inaugural DCN student council member Sarah Harvey with a certificate of appreciation at the June 11 meeting. (Sandra Hanson photo)

LaGarde will not return to the program after she graduates this week. ,

She described the experience as “empowering and educational.”

Harvey expressed her enthusiasm for the program, saying she greatly enjoyed the experience.

“I really encourage other students to try it. I definitely plan to reapply next year,” said Harvey.

Deputy Mayor Karen Hargrove thanked the students and presented them with a certificate of appreciation at the June 11 council meeting. The program will resume in the fall. 

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