School trustee candidate Cole Hickson says his campaign is all about providing opportunities and building community support for school issues.
The 25-year-old candidate said a blown shoulder meant he couldn’t pursue the trades or military after high school, as he had planned, and instead attended Thompson Rivers University to study political science and economics.
“When I got to university, I realized I was actually really interested in the way the world works,” he said.
Hickson said politics and economics captured his interests, which led to his work with the TRU Students’ Union, where he was elected four times to represent students, and an education that landed him a job at the very university he attended. Now working as the communications and engagement co-ordinator for TRU’s School of Business and Economics, Hickson has already been looking for ways to find opportunities for students — something he’s hoping to work toward as a school trustee.
Hickson said he didn’t excel as a student before attending university, feeling as though there were no opportunities for him to be academically successful in his K-12 years.
With “a bit of imagination, a bit of risk and a lot of work,” Hickson said he is hoping to turn that around and lay out more options for SD73 students during his term as school trustee, should he be elected.
Hickson’s campaign is focused on five areas, including improved funding, boosting experiential learning, improving student safety, encouraging young graduates to pursue careers in Kamloops and property planning.
For funding, Hickson said he will be leaning on the experience he gained working on the students’ union’s Fund the Future campaign — a years-long effort that sparked a provincial funding review for B.C.’s post-secondary institutions, including TRU. He said he would like to do the same for Kamloops to ensure the city gets its fair share.
“I’m not going to beat the drum and demand we need all these schools built [overnight], but we can see that Kamloops is definitely over-capacity and over-utilized,” he said, pointing to ongoing school capacity issues in the district.
When asked about a future political career, Hickson said he’s already been asked by some to run for council — but that is something he says he’s not interested in at the moment.
“I still want to build my career, I still want to build my future, but I know the school district is a great place where I can help build other peoples’ futures and careers, as well, for a broadly more successful city that I want to be a part of in the future,” he said.