by Georgia Shivnan, Year 13 Student, Kaipara College
Harrison McCarthy, a Year 12 student, has been elected as Kaipara College’s student representative on the Board of Trustees (BOT) for the 2022 school year. The Board of Trustees – composed of community members, staff, and parents – establishes a vision for Kaipara College, is accountable for student achievement, and ensures the school complies with legal and policy requirements. Harrison’s role as the student representative is to listen to, collate, and communicate the views of the Kaipara College student body to the Board.
This representation allows the school to be guided in a direction that benefits its students.
Typically, annual elections for the student representative take place in September, and the student takes office shortly after. However, due to lockdown and school closure in late 2021, voting did not begin until April. Candidates had the opportunity to self-nominate and present their intentions for the role at online school assemblies and in a short blurb. Students received voting forms to complete during the subsequent weeks, and the election result was declared at the beginning of Term 2. Because of this delay, Harrison will be in office for a shortened period of six months.
Harrison’s primary focus as the acting student representative is to amply represent his peers and maintain transparency with students about the Board’s role in the school and what they achieve. He states that he has a “bottom-up rather than top-down” approach to his role – valuing student collaboration and feedback in decision-making processes rather than stipulating outcomes that will filter down to students.
Currently, Harrison is developing a system where students can anonymously submit concerns they have encountered around the school and any potential solutions to be put forward to the Board.
Harrison also plans to work with other student-led groups in the school – such as the student leaders and Peer Sexuality Support Program (PSSP) – to help identify and resolve concerns in the school. The reach of such groups often extends to a broad and diverse community of students and can, therefore, involve more pupils in the active improvement of their school.
Harrison attended his first Board meeting in early May and will join subsequent monthly meetings – and quarterly curriculum meetings – until the election of a new student representative in September. Harrison’s passion for making positive change in communities also extends to his career path, where he plans to pursue law after finishing high school next year.