Winners of the Ontario Public Student Trustee Leadership Scholarship announced


Vandy Widyalankara, Halton DSB Student Trustee, and Michael Yao, Student Trustee, Rainbow DSB

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) and the Public Board Council of OSTA-AECO are pleased to announce the winners of the 2021-22 Ontario Public Student Trustee Scholarship. This scholarship is based on an outstanding leadership initiative accomplished during the student trustee’s term and how the initiative positively impacted the students in their board. Two scholarships, in the amount of $500 each, have been awarded to:

Vandy Widyalankara, Halton District School Board (HDSB)

Vandy is a Grade 12 student at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville and has been a student trustee for two years. Vandy’s leadership initiative was creating a centralized forum for students to voice their concerns and identify improvements – the Student Human Rights and Equity Committee. The Committee is to launch officially in the Fall of 2022. It will be open to all students within HDSB schools and in particular those whose social identities have been impacted by systemic oppression and colonialism. Vandy has been an impressive student leader beginning with being an HDSB Student Senator in elementary school and a member of her secondary school’s Student Government. Vandy’s future plans include attending Queen Mary University of London and studying English and European Law.

Michael Yao, Rainbow District School Board (RDSB)

A Grade 12 student at Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School, Michael Yao was instrumental in the organization and oversight of the “Stand Up Speak Out” conference – a conference for students, by students. This was particularly important given the pandemic. The conference included leadership speakers on topics of business, academics, health, reconciliation, and equity and inclusion, with keynote speaker Sunjay Nath. Michael has shown his leadership qualities through his commitment to student government. He plans to attend McMaster University and is enrolled in the Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences Program.

The intent of this scholarship is to recognize outstanding achievement and provide financial support to a graduating public board student trustee to assist with their post-secondary education plans, whether they choose to attend university or college or start an apprenticeship.

Student trustees represent the voice of students in decisions about education and they help keep students informed about important decisions that affect them. They play an important role in the education governance process and are actively working at the local board and provincial levels on a number of initiatives.