Stouffville Students Design Better Communities

Stouffville Students Design Better Communities

Grade 9 students of St. Katharine Drexel CHS had a unique opportunity to share their ideas on how to build neighbourhoods that better serve everyone in a community at a mock meeting of Stouffville Town Council, which Mayor Iain Lovatt and councillors Maurice Smith and Richard Bartley attended.

Three classes of students were tasked with taking a piece of land (currently not planned for re-development) and proposing ways to build a community that supports social, environmental, economic, mental health and accessibility needs.

In front of a packed Stouffville Town Council Chamber, students confidentially discussed their ideas with politicians and senior municipal staff, including presenting Minecraft mock-ups of their imagined communities.

From green energy generation to trails to businesses to community gathering spaces to playgrounds to dog parks to learning commons to a multi-faith prayer building, the three classes were brimming with ideas.

The students’ concepts impressed the politicians and senior staff who played the other council members (because if there had been more than three councillors in attendance, this would have become a real town council meeting).

“We are incredibly impressed with the work you have put forward,” said Stouffville Mayor Iain Lovatt. “Us old folks that sit up here and we actually make the decisions, we need your voice. We need to listen to what you’re saying.”

Such work is becoming critical in the Greater Toronto Area, where municipalities are growing quickly. Stouffville, for example, is expected to grow from 39,400 in 2011 to 60,600 by 2031. This reality makes the work of these St. Katharine Drexel students even more needed, as the assembled Stouffville councillors and senior staff were ready to point out.

“You are our young leaders in our town. You’re not our future leaders, you are leaders, and your thinking needs to influence us,” said Mayor Lovatt.

Thank you to the teachers at St. Katharine Drexel who made this special day possible: Cynthia Bettio, Joe Fragale, Michael German, Ara Karakashian, Nicholas Polsinelli and Valerio Sorgini.