“My goal is to bring another voice and another angle to how decisions are being made,” says Cory Hughes, about joining the High Prairie School Board.
Hughes became a HPSD trustee by acclamation on September 20. The other Slave Lake trustee is Joy McGregor.
Asked why he ran, Hughes says “I wanted to be part of something that would directly impact my child.” Something which “directly relates to our next generation.”
Hughes’ daughter just started Kindergarten at C.J. Schurter Elementary School in Slave Lake.
“And she loves it every day,” says Hughes.
Hughes also considered running for town council or the Chamber of Commerce, but decided that the school board was a better use of his time.
Hughes describes Ali Mouallem as one of his mentors. Mouallem was one of the Slave Lake HPSD trustees for the last term.
From talking with Mouallem and doing some research, Hughes understands the school board trustees are “the voices of the school district” and the superintendent’s boss.
School board trustees commit to a four-year term – with at least monthly meetings.
Slave Lake has public, Catholic, and Christian schools. Also, people homeschool. This gives parents choice.
As parents of a Kindergartner, Hughes and his wife recently had to make a decision between these options.
“There’s a lot more that the public schools can offer than the private schools,” says Hughes. “Just more opportunities it seems for young people. I want my daughter to have all of the opportunities. We’ve heard nothing but great things about C.J.”
This is Hughes’ first time on a school board or “any council,” he says. It is “a whole new thing for me.”
However, it is not his first role in leadership. He first came to Slave Lake as a pastor. Also, he studied leadership and team development at Bible school in Australia. For the last year, Hughes has been a business owner in Slave Lake.
Returning to Hughes’ goal on the school board, part of his “voice” and “angle” is faith.
“It’s always important to me,” he says. “It’s who you are and its not just what you do.”
“This (Slave Lake) is where my voice stands, but what we say here will resonate to, I think it is, 14 other schools,” says Hughes. The decisions that the school board makes are important, he adds. “Especially for young kids, because everything we do now reflects on them – molds them into how they are going to be.”
Hughes attended public school in Delta, east of Vancouver, BC.
“It’s all part of the metro Vancouver area,” he says.
Slave Lake is very different than living in Vancouver.
“In a good way though,” says Hughes. “The way of life here is definitely something to write home about.”