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For the last decade, Ravi Parmar has been a staple in the WestShore and Sooke community.
Raised in Langford, Ravi attended Millstream Elementary and Spencer Middle School. He graduated from the old Belmont Secondary School on Jacklin Road. It was at Belmont where he began his political activism, leading the charge to convince the Government of British Columbia to replace the aging Belmont Secondary School with two new high schools.
Ravi was the leader of a powerful student movement that collected thousands of signatures on a petition and even led a successful student walkout that garnered tons of media interest to help spread the word.
Leading the charge alongside his local MLA John Horgan, local Mayors, Councilors, the Sooke School Board and his broader community, Ravi took his petition and the issue he was fighting for directly to the Minister of Education George Abbott. It was there he had an opportunity one-on-one to make the case on behalf of his community to convince the Minister to support the plan to replace the old Belmont with two new schools, one located in the Royal Bay Development area and the other on the site of the old Glen Lake Elementary School.
But that wasn't all, this mover and shaker, spent his summer before heading into grade 12 putting pressure on the Government to build those new schools. He made the case that these schools would be needed not only because Belmont was being held together with duct tape but also because of the velocity of growth that was occurring in Langford and Colwood. Whether it was going door-to-door collecting signatures on the petition, holding a summer BBQ with community leaders or working with parents to launch a letter writing campaign. The work of Ravi and the community paid off one Halloween day in 2011 when the Minister paid a visit to Belmont to announce the funding to build two new schools in the WestShore.
But that's wasn't all, Ravi's service to his community, was just getting started. Being apart of the process to help advocate for new schools sparked an interest in education policy for Ravi. During his grade 12 year he became the first student representative to attend Sooke Parents Education Advisory Committee meetings, he also began attending monthly school board meetings as a way to learn about the work of SD62 and its School Board.
In 2014, while attending the University of Victoria to complete his undergraduate degree in Political Science, he ran for and was successful in becoming elected as a school trustee for the Sooke School District, Board of Education. At the age of twenty, he was the youngest elected representative in the Capital Regional District and the youngest elected school trustee in Canada.
As a trustee he worked hard, advocated for students and families and delivered for his community. He brought forward issues that mattered to people and ensured that his perspective as a recent consumer of the public education system was reflected in the decisions made by the Board of Education. Whether it was advocating for an expanded transportation system, to extra supports for students with diverse needs to growing sports, arts and culture programing in our school district, Ravi was there and present.
In his first term as a trustee, Ravi was elected by his peers to serve as Board Chairperson, the youngest to serve in this prestigious position in provincial history. As Chair of the Board for the last 5 years, Ravi has led a strong advocacy effort to convince the Provincial Government to build new schools for our growing community. Under his leadership, over $225,000,000 in capital investments have been made to purchase land and expand and build new schools for students in the Westshore and Sooke.
Building new schools for our growing community is important but that isn't the only focus for Ravi. As a trustee and board chair, he has been a strong advocate for building an inclusive school district where all students can have a sense of belonging. He has worked hard to support students with diverse needs, foster innovation in classrooms and prioritize investments in social and emotional learning. He will always be an advocate for students and staff and ensure that there needs are prioritized when developing policy and finalizing the District's nearly $150,000,000 operating budget.
In his second term, leading the District through the pandemic has been Ravi's primary focus. He worked daily with the Superintendent and senior leaders in the school district to ensure students and staff were supported through virtual and in-person learning. He led with compassion, integrity and a willingness to work with all the partners in education. Under his leadership he expanded relationships with our local governments and signed Memorandum of Understandings to partner on shared initiatives with the City of Langford, the City of Colwood and the District of Sooke.
Eight years ago, Ravi Parmar was a student activist wanting to ensure that his perspective as a recent consumer of the public education system was reflected in the decisions made at the Board's table. Eight years later he is an experienced leader who remains just as passionate as he was when he got started. He's running for re-election to ensure that we keep the momentum towards building a school district that supports all students. On October 15th, I hope you will consider re-electing him to the Sooke School District Board of Education.