On Wednesday, January 16, the John Oliver Secondary Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) hosted a district forum to discuss progress on key elements of the BC Education Plan.
School staff say what was particularly unique about the event was the inclusion of Jennifer Johnson, a Grade 7 student from Mackenzie Elementary, as a panelist along with Vancouver School Board Chair Patti Bacchus, John Oliver's principal Tim McGeer and MLA Mable Elmore.
The school's PAC wanted to include Johnson to provide the student perspective on topics such as quality teaching and learning, flexibility and choice in school education and learning empowered by technology among other topics.
Originally, Johnson had only prepared to introduce the panel and present the questions. But at the last minute she was placed on the panel.
In an articulate and thoughtful presentation, the elementary student provided some insightful answers to a range of questions. She was especially adamant about the importance of a disciplined education.
"Students at elementary won't be ready for high school if the proper discipline hasn't been used from an early stage in education," said Johnson.
"It's important that we hear the student voice," said panelist Patti Bacchus. "Jennifer really stood out. She is a great example of a student who has a passion that we need to support."
Johnson is the daughter of Jackie Hollis, who is the Chair at PAC. She is currently working on her public speaking and debating skills with a mentor through a VSB program via Mackenzie Elementary.