Ochiel Audenart receives his May 2021 Student of the Month certificate from Rotary Club of Duncan Past President Mike Taylor, joined on the left by Frances Kelsey principal Jeff Rowan and teacher Jeremy Hart, and on the right by Student of the Month coordinator Kim Barnard and Shawnigan Lake Eco Club President Steve Elskens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Ochiel Audenart receives his May 2021 Student of the Month certificate from Rotary Club of Duncan Past President Mike Taylor, joined on the left by Frances Kelsey principal Jeff Rowan and teacher Jeremy Hart, and on the right by Student of the Month coordinator Kim Barnard and Shawnigan Lake Eco Club President Steve Elskens. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Duncan Rotary Student of the Month keeps older kids in line

As speaker of student parliament, Ochiel Audenart fills big shoes

Although he is just wrapping up Grade 9 at Frances Kelsey Secondary School, Ochiel Audenart has already been keeping older students in check for a couple of years.

Audenart is making his mark in the school through student parliament, where, according to Kelsey principal Jeff Rowan, he not only conducts himself well, but manges the older students. Audenart was honoured last month as the Rotary Club of Duncan’s student of the month for May.

“He’s an excellent student,” Rowan said. “He’s made a real contribution to student life at Frances Kelsey. Since he came here in Grade 8, he’s taken a leadership role in the school; it’s great to see from someone so young.”

Audenart was elected speaker of the house for Kelsey’s student parliament in Grade 8. Student parliament is modelled after Canadian parliament, and the speaker has an important role. It is the speaker’s job to manage debates and keep decorum among members.

“It’s an interesting role for a Grade 9, managing the debates between Grade 10, 11 and 12s,” said Jeremy Hart, the teacher liaison for student parliament. “He’s a younger student, but he’s interested in politics, government and history. It’s impressive what he’s taken on.”

Audenart came into Kelsey already interested in how government functioned, so it was only natural that he would immerse himself in student government.

“I was really interested in learning about government and how it works,” he said. “I found it cool that we could vote, then I started learning more about government and how it worked.”

In addition to learning about Canadian parliament, Audenart has been able to learn more about his school and help make decisions that effect the whole student body, although some of the student parliament’s duties have changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We represent the school as a group and make decisions for the student body,” Audenart explained. “We do school surveys and some school-wide events.”

Audenart’s curiosity about Canadian government and history have only grown over his two years of student parliament.

“I’m still interested,” he said. “I like to learn anything, especially about Canada, how it was founded, the good and the bad.”

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