Lauren Barry selected for the Minister’s Student Advisory Council1

Lauren Barry selected for the Minister’s Student Advisory Council1

Congratulations to Lauren Barry, Grade 8, Tweed-Hungerford Senior Public School. Barry was selected to be part of the Minister's Student Advisory Council for the 2013-2014 school year.

Read about Barry's experience as a legislative page

Students from across the province were invited to apply to be on the Council. The Minister of Education, Liz Sandals, selected 63 to join the prestigious group.

According to a letter from Sandals, students who serve on the Minister's Advisory Council have many responsibilities. The Council meets with her twice during their term and each member is required to participate in at least one regional student forum. Additional Council meetings normally take place 'virtually' between September and June. The Council can form sub-committees on topics of interest to them. Council members can also participate in other student forums, events or conferences to discuss student-related issues.

The Council also provides:

  • ongoing student perspectives, advice, recommendations, and consultations on the Ministry of Education policies, programs and practices;
  • advice and feedback on activities more-specifically related to the ministry's student engagement activities; and
  • feedback on student-focused communication strategies and products, such as websites, brochures, pamphlets and DVD clips.

Council members develop leadership skills. During their term they learn about strategic planning and the formation of government policy, programs and practices. They also use online surveys to engage their peers, and to raise awareness about programs and services available to Ontario students.

IN HER OWN WORDS: Lauren Barry's Experience as a Legislative Page

When I was a page, I served from March 2012 to April 2012. I was there with 20 other kids from across Ontario. There were over 1200 applications for that year. When I was told I was accepted, I was also told that I would need to memorize all 107 MPPs' names, faces, parties, seat, along with how to deliver documents and bills. We also had to study the map of the buildings to be sure we knew our way around. It was a lot to do in under a month, but was expected. When we were there we were lucky enough to be able to deliver the 2012 budget, and we did so in under 16 seconds (delivered to all 107 MPPs). We beat the previous record!

On a normal day as a page, I would have to be ready to go to the chamber at 8am. There was uniform inspection to make sure the pages were ready.

We would then go to get the leaders of the parties water, prepare the books and take our spots. The MPPs would come in for Oral Questions ("Question Period") which was the most exciting part of the day. That was when they would get the most angry and arguments would get heated, which was exciting for us to watch.

After that there would be orders of the day, where pages followed a schedule to see who would go to tutoring to do math and language and who would have to stay in the chamber to serve. You would stay until 4pm or 6pm, depending on the day.

While there, we got to have meetings with the speaker, the clerks, our own MPPs, Andrea Horwath and Dalton McGuinty to ask questions.

Being a page was amazing and I think everyone who had the chance to go wishes they could go back. I learned so much, and I found my love for politics.

Being a page is what made me want to apply for the Ministers Student Advisory Council (MSAC). I will serve as a member of MSAC from May 2013 to May 2014, a longer term.

So far I know that they are sending all of the members to Ontario Education Leadership Camp (OELC) in August, and meetings throughout next year.

During orientation we wrote reports on a cause we were passionate about, so I wrote one about giving small town students a voice. The Minister Liz Sandals read them after.

For more information, please contact: Kerry Donnell, Communications Officer, 613-966-1170 or 1 800 267-4350, extension 2354, [email protected]