Young trustees look to bring new perspective to SD73's board of education

Meet SD73's young trustees

The two new Kamloops-Thompson school district trustees who will be sworn in on Monday were admittedly not great students — but they feel like they have something unique to bring to the board.

Cole Hickson, 26, and Jo Kang, 24, graduated from schools in the district less than a decade ago.

Hickson grew up on the south side of town while Kang was on the north side of the river, attending A.E. Perry elementary, Brocklehurst middle school, and Norkam secondary.

“I was not considered a great student in high school,” Hickson said, describing his time at South Kam secondary and Stuart Wood elementary.

“In elementary school, I was almost expelled by the fourth grade because I got into fights.”

While Kang was in a similar boat, he said he was he didn’t take his disruptions quite so far.

“I always wasn't really into the whole classroom setting and I didn't like being told what to do and all that,” Kang told Castanet Kamloops.

Both the trustee-elects said they really only showed up to class for the extracurricular activities.

“We had our own little group called the Crime Stoppers ran around and actually tried to stop students from doing crime,” Hickson said.

“It was like a little miniature vigilante police force that I'm very surprised our administration let go on for so long.”

Kang said he found identity though school sports teams, and he said he understands how important such things can be for students.

“I know a lot of kids that's the only reason they go to school is they're able to be a part of a volleyball team or basketball team or soccer team or part of a debate team or a spelling group," he said.

"In some cases they need that motivation to get to school."

Hickson said extracurriculars allowed him to channel his excess energy to help him perform better in the classroom.

“I learned to calm down a lot and use that passion towards a more productive end of building a community within my school environment,” Hickson said.

Hickson said there were enough extracurricular options during his time at Stuart Wood.

“In elementary school there really wasn't that many options,” he said.

“So for somebody who had a lot of passion, energy that couldn't necessarily be focused in in the classrooms, I feel like there wasn't many options. However, in high school, they were able to better utilize that energy to things like sports, but also club environments.”

Kang said he didn’t think a lot of his former teachers would see him doing well after high school, which helped motivate him to succeed in the years since and create a future for himself.

“Looking back at how everything just connected and I'm back kinda representing the school board now, I think that stuff actually motivated me quite a bit to where I am right now today,” Kang said.

Like, me being troubled and ... teachers don't want me in their classrooms, and I think it just motivated me upon graduation to do something for myself,”

The new SD73 board of education — which will also include incumbents John O'Fee, Kathleen Karpuk, Heather Grieve, Shelley Sim (North Thompson), Rhonda Kershaw (Barriere-Little Fort), Diane Jules (Chase) and Cara McKelvey (Logan Lake) — will be sworn in on Monday.

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