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As the former SFU Student Union President, Gabe has experience heading an organization with a budget of $12M, a staff of 50+ employees, and a governing body of 60+ people. Gabe understands what it takes to practice good governance, manage large organizations, work within budget constraints, and engage in effective government lobbying. He believes fighting for inclusion education is imperative to having a strong public school system and inclusive society. Gabe wants to draw attention to the differing experiences that youth face in schools, whether is be on the basis of race, sexuality, disability, and so much more.
Reason for running
I am proud to have lived in Maple Ridge all my life, and to have attended school here, first at Alouette Elementary, and then Maple Ridge Secondary School. From a young age, I knew that community involvement was my passion. In high school, I discovered my passion for change-making as a member of the Student Council, emboldened by teachers, administrators, and a school district that prioritizes and cherishes students’ voices. Here, I engaged in advocacy and initiatives that involved working directly with district staff, including having the opportunity to present to the school board itself in grade 12.
As an SD42 alumnus of less than three years, I believe I am well positioned to understand the issues that are impacting students, families, and the communities as it concerns our schools.
Growing up in the public school system as an openly gay youth was challenging. However, I was always comforted by the fact that I had welcoming teachers I could confide in, a community that espoused equality and camaraderie, and a support system of caring friends and family. I know that my experience is dramatically different from what other youth the exact same age as me experience. If elected, I hope to work with the community and district staff to make LGBTQ youth feel welcome in all SD42 schools.
Since graduating, I became a student at Simon Fraser University, where my community involvement only intensified. I served as Vice-President University Relations on the Simon Fraser Student Society’s Board of Directors for one year, and subsequently, served as the President.
With my experience serving on, and heading, a Society with a total budget of $12M, a staff team of over 50 unionized employees, and a governing body with a membership of 50+ people, I understand what it takes to practice good governance, manage large organizations, work within budget constraints, and engage in effective advocacy at all levels of government -- skills that are invaluable as a school board trustee.
Putting my name on the ballot to bring a youth perspective to the table is one of the most exciting opportunities of my life, but also one that I do not take lightly. Youth have had a challenging last two years. Mental health has declined significantly during the pandemic, and for many, they are still struggling. Over the last year, I grappled with my own mental health challenges. It affected every aspect of my life, including my friendships, my home life, and my academics. Trustees have a role in working with all levels of government to prom