Waseem campaigns for school board trustee in Waterloo

Waseem wants to addressconcerns about reduced math literacy and declining high school graduation rate 

Image supplied by: Supplied by Sherry Wang
The WRDSB election starts on Oct. 12.

Meena Waseem, Comm ’24, is simultaneously taking classes at Smith School of Business and running for a trustee position on the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB). 

Waseem’s campaign has been endorsed by the Waterloo Regional Labour Council, which represents 26,000 public and private sector workers, the Waterloo Region’s Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario, and Kitchener’s MP Mike Morrice. The election starts on Oct. 12.

Waseem elected to run for the WRDSB because it’s a system that she knows. Having gone through the WRDSB herself, she understands the challenges schools are up against. 

“It was really the community that made me. When I moved away, I told myself I want to make sure I pay it back one day,” Waseem said in an interview with The Journal. “I especially wanted to pay it forward to young people [in Waterloo].” 

According to Waseem, WRDSB parents are concerned by the declining high-school graduation rate and reduced math literacy among students. Burnout rates are also on the rise in classrooms and households after the pandemic. 

“Another key issue is safety. It’s not just about COVID safety, it’s also about safety about things like identity in classrooms. A lot of students who come from equity seeking groups [parents’] feel they don’t know how to advocate for their students in the classroom, or when they do, parents feel like they aren’t being heard, they don’t know how to navigate these systems,” Waseem said. 

Inclusivity hits close to home for Waseem, whose third language is English. Going door-to-door, Waseem has spoken to many immigrant families in hopes of representing them by engaging the WRDSB in issues affecting to entire Waterloo community.  

“I remember being 11 years old and translating everything from bank documents to field trip forms for my parents. I didn’t grow up the same way another student from an English-speaking household who went through the system,” Waseem said. 

Waseem is not new to boardrooms—she has sat on boards for The Journal and was the youngest person on the board for The Sexual Assault Centre, Kingston during the pandemic.

In Waterloo, Waseem was involved in mental health advocacy, participating in the first data collection onwellbeing for adolescents inthe region.

When asked what advice she would offer young adults, Waseem encourages people to think about their community’s needs and how they can act to serve them. 

“If you have something in you that is telling you, you are capable and that you should go for it, that is already a sign that your community needs your voice,” Waseem said. 

“I have this life philosophy: courage is like a muscle; the more you exercise it, the stronger it’s going to get.” 


Commerce, Education, Election, Politics, students, Trustee, vote, Waterloo

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