Ladysmith Secondary School’s Student Council has created a new website that seeks to educate LSS students and the Ladysmith community about complex issues like racism, LGBTQ issues, mental health, and Indigenous teachings.
LSS Student Council Co-President Michaela Segreto said that the students began the project in January. The students organized themselves into expert groups based on their areas of interest and sought informative resources on each of the topics.
“As a student council, we felt that we weren’t providing enough information for our students. We were doing the bare minimum that we could for sharing information, and we felt it was inauthentic to just post something and have people forget about it the next day,” Segreto said.
The website features links to articles from news organizations like the CBC and BBC, as well as links to reputable non-profit organizations and service clubs, and interviews with local experts.
“In our LGBTQ+ expert group we had people from the Ladysmith Gay-Straight Alliance, in our mental health expert group we had people who struggled with mental illness or are advocates for mental health — people who had stories of their own that they wanted to share so we could get reliable information,” Segreto said.
The topics on the website were chosen based on a survey of LSS students. Student Council sent out a resume to all 600 students at LSS asking them which topics they’d like to see covered.
Co-President Ava Smith worked with the anti-racism expert group and said she hopes the website can help the broader Ladysmith community learn more about how these issues and help people feel safe and respected in their community.
“We gained real information that can help people feel safe and comfortable. What we were able to put on the website is really good information and I think people are going to learn a lot from it,” Smith said. “We’re hoping to see people of all ages using it as a resource.”
The students were supported in their efforts by LSS staff members including Moira Dolen, Karmyn Powell, Brandie Lewis, Kristine Walker, and Jennifer Fink.
Fink is one of the sponsor teachers for the LSS Student Council. She said that watching the council work on the website was an inspiring experience.
“It’s one of those beautiful moments as a teacher where you get to see the kids doing something that they deeply care about, advocating for themselves and using their voices to make the world a better place.”
The website belongs to the LSS Student Council and will be accessible by future student councils. Fink said that students aim to update the content every six months to make sure the information is current and relevant.
Students involved in the creation of the website include: Michaela Segreto, Ella Hillbrecht, Tomas Guevara-Mix, Ava Smith, Bella Charley, Bryn Dovey, Lucy Partington, Ryza Marston, Gia Charley, Bianca Steele, Bowie Stevens-Faught, Emily Anderson, Ella Wyndlow, Audrey Haslam, Dana Florence, Keagan van Reeuwyk, Brianna McGee, Hannah Burns, Ally Segreto, LilyAhn Chay, Caidence Burns, Olivia Ballard, Kayla Henry, Maddy Jolly, Brianna Narduzzi, Skyla Tomas, Emily Anderson, and Logan Steele.