An All Candidates meeting for Surrey School Board of Trustee candidates was organized by the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) on October 16. The event was held at the Surrey Schools District Education Centre. A video recording of this event will be available on the Surrey DPAC’s website (surreydpac.ca) until after the election. Candidates checked in at 6:20 pm and drew numbers to determine seating arrangements. Candidates were able to display their materials and mingle with attendees before the meeting.
Surrey DPAC’s acting President Jyotika Jasuja called the meeting to order and began by welcoming parents, guests and 21 of the candidates running for the Board of Trustees. Jasuja also appreciatively introduced the current DPAC Board of Directors, Secretary Amanda Grimson, Treasurer Anissa Riemer Ly and Directors Robert Ran, Jagwinder Mahal, Peter Johal (absent), Nicole Cook (absent). Jasuja was proud of this new team’s efforts for their contributions towards this event and regular DPAC activities. She briefly spoke about DPAC and its non partisan role.
“Our DPAC functions at a district level and our aim is to inspire other parents, create awareness and empower the community by sharing the information about available resources that would equip our membership at large with tools to be involved in their children’s education.”
Summarizing, Jasuja advised “We are the parent voice” and emphasized that DPAC is non-partisan and free from political influences. She introduced volunteers Eric O’Dell (moderator) and Simon Wu (photographer/videographer), and thanked them for offering their services. She also acknowledged the presence and media coverage by ZEE TV Canada, which was reflective of their strong community involvement. The meeting was divided into four sections. Candidates began with one-minute introductions, answered pre selected questions from the DPAC Board based on parent concerns, answered written questions from attendees, and gave a 30-second closing statement.
Candidates were also asked to respond to six written questions on major parent concerns. Responses are available at surreydpac.ca and printed copies were also available at the meeting. This was a great interactive platform for all the candidates running for the board of Trustees at the Surrey school board (District #36) and a very good opportunity to connect with the parent members, attendees and the community. 24 candidates for Surrey Board of Trustees had registered with DPAC for the meeting and 21 attended.
Candidates in attendance were Lisa Alexis, Sonia Andhi, Balraj Atwal, Cindy Dalglish, Rina Diaz, Charlene Dobie, Kapil Goyal, Gordon Hepner, Bob Holmes, Aronjit Lageri, Laurie Larsen, Dean McGee, Jasbir Narwal, Diana Ng, Niovi Patsicakis, Julia Poole, Dupinder Kaur Saran, Garry Thind, Gary Tymoschuk, Mary-Em Waddington, and Adele Yu.
Jasuja acknowledged everyone for their presence and wonderful participation. Everyone’s enthusiasm and interest at the event was commendable and admirable. Voting rights are a privilege of democracy. Jasuja closed with an inspiring message to the community that along with exercising the voting rights that a democratic country offers, people must also rise above to eliminate differences that exist in a diverse community and come together supportively to embrace the basic human values and ethical conduct, which will be “a true representation of democracy!”
Overall, a very successful event as it was a warm informative and interactive session at the meeting. Very well organized and executed. Impartial, orderly and friendly conduct set the tone for a great rapport and lighter atmosphere of healthy humor that made everyone comfortable. Thus, the candidates were able to express themselves freely within the set time limits and that was helpful for both the attendees and the Candidates.