Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay elementary school students learning in 'Harmony'

A number of elementary school-aged children in Thunder Bay, Ont. are taking part in a two-day conference in the city aimed at developing leaders for social change.

Strengthing student leadership in schools is goal of new student senate program

Grade 7 and 8 students from Thunder Bay elementary schools gathered for a two-day conference in the city designed at strengthening leadership skills. (Submitted by Bruce Nugent)

Over 30 elementary school-aged children in Thunder Bay, Ont. are taking part in a two-day conference in the city aimed at developing leaders in the classroom.

Youth chosen to be part of a "student senate" in Thunder Bay are attending a program being put on by the Harmony Movement — an organization that offers diversity education programs. The Lakehead public school board said each elementary school is represented by one Grade 7 and one Grade 8 student at the conference.

"We are pleased and excited to offer this incredible training opportunity through the Harmony Movement to the members of our elementary student senate," Robyn Sulkko, a student trustee for the Lakehead District School Board was quoted as saying in a written release.

"The program will be extremely exciting for the participants and is focused on the development of leadership skills in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion."
Robyn Sulkko (left) is the student trustee for the Lakehead District School Board. (Submitted by Bruce Nugent)

Sulkko, who helped develop the student senate concept, said, after one day, the students already started to develop good ideas surrounding issues like diversity, bullying and inclusion.

"They have a lot of surprisingly positive and effective ideas about these issues and what can be done about them and we want to teach the students that they can make a difference even though they're only 12 or 13, they do have an impact."

The two day training session, which includes student facilitators from city high schools, also focuses on things like advocacy, conflict and discrimination, according to the school board.

The initiative is also designed to help senior elementary students with the upcoming transition into high school.

According to education officials, the student senate was designed to strengthen leadership skills among students in city schools.