Herkimer Central School District civics students not only proposed a change to improve traffic safety near the school, but they also helped make it happen.
The village of Herkimer Board of Trustees passed a resolution on Wednesday, June 28, that was proposed by the Herkimer civics students. The resolution will ban parking on Church Street near the Herkimer Jr./Sr. High School from 7-8:30 a.m. and 2-3:30 p.m. on school days.
Herkimer Central School District is the only school in Herkimer County offering the Seal of Civic Readiness program this school year. High School Principal Mary Tomaso applied to the New York State Department of Education to be able to offer the Seal of Civic Readiness to Herkimer students this school year, and Participation in Government teacher Laura Scalise spearheaded the development of the school’s program. Social studies teacher Caroline Lampert led the civics students through this project, which included identifying, researching and recommending policy changes at the school and village levels of government.
“I’m really glad that Herkimer is a leader in the county in developing the Seal of Civic Readiness, and Mrs. Scalise has been invaluable in establishing this program in our school,” Tomaso said. “I’m happy that our students have been able to make an impact as young members of our community.”
Herkimer senior Kiarra Cisco, senior Torri Nalaskowski and junior Alex Collis developed their parking change proposal for their capstone project as they worked toward their Seal of Civic Readiness this school year. The Seal of Civic Readiness is a New York state initiative that requires students to identify and address an issue or problem in their school or community.
Three Herkimer seniors received their Seal of Civic Readiness during the Class of 2023 Graduation on Friday, June 23: Cisco, Nalaskowski and Jacob Lamanna. Lamanna completed the program last school year and received the certificate this year as a graduate. Collis is a junior and will receive the certificate at graduation next school year.
For the capstone project that resulted in the parking change, Cisco, Nalaskowski and Collis examined the safety and efficiency of school roadways and parking lots. The students identified and documented problem areas, conducted surveys and met with school leaders.
Because several concerns involved Church Street, the students brought these issues to Herkimer Mayor Dana Sherry in October 2022. Sherry gave the students a quick tour of the village offices, listened to their concerns and discussed follow-up plans to address their questions. From there, Herkimer Police Chief Michael Jory was instrumental in helping students navigate the process of changing village parking laws and in proposing the resolution to the village board for adoption.
Herkimer Central School District civics students proposed a village parking change that was passed by the village of Herkimer’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, June 28. From left: Herkimer Central School District school resource officer Jessica Alberts, junior Alex Collis, senior Torri Nalaskowski, senior Kiarra Cisco and social studies teacher Laura Scalise pose with copies of the resolution.