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Back to Communications Home

Listening to our students' voices

Photo of a group of students standing in the Albany High School lobby being interviewed by a reporterALBANY, N.Y. (March 14, 2018) – On March 14, students at Albany High School and the City School District of Albany's three middle schools joined their peers nationwide in coming together to advocate for school safety and to honor the memory of the 17 people who lost their lives in last month's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

 

At Albany High, students took part in a voluntary assembly and march as part of the nationwide movement. The demonstration was organized entirely by Albany High students to speak out on the issue of school safety and the power of their own voices.

 

Albany High Senior Class President Shafiyq Grady was instrumental to his school’s preparations. “There is only so much the adults can do,” he said. “There is only so much administrators can do. The students – our voices – need to be heard, because we are the next generation, and what we do and say now is what’s going to matter years from now.”

 

You can view this video featuring Shafiyq and fellow student leaders talking about the importance of making their voices heard, and this video of students expressing their voices and demonstrating at the event.

 

Students at each of our three middle schools made their voices heard as well.

 

At Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence, student representatives from each grade paid tribute to the victims of the Parkland shooting through readings over the school’s PA system, with students releasing a balloon into the sky for each victim as well. Classrooms also came together to sign cards and offer messages of hope and positivity to send to those affected by the tragedy.

 

At Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, students joined together in the auditorium for a series of video presentations and to reflect on the issue through silent vigil. Principal Jennifer Chatain closed the assembly by encouraging students to be leaders, and to help spread positive change in the world. Students also participated in announcements throughout the day paying tribute to those who lost their lives.

 

Following an assembly honoring the Parkland victims, students at William S. Hackett Middle School had the option to take part in a voluntary march outside the building. Students filed outside and were ushered into rows of 17. For 17 minutes they stood outside, and for every person killed in Parkland, a Hackett student released an orange helium balloon into the air.

 

You can also Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams’ message regarding our students’ voices here.

The mission of the City School District of Albany is to work in partnership with our diverse community to engage every learner in a robust educational program designed to provide the knowledge and skills necessary for success. The district serves around 9,600 students in 18 elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as well as other innovative academic opportunities for students, including four themed academies at Albany High School.

         
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