SCSD Students Make a Difference through Youth Advisory Council
Published on 6/4/19
District News Corcoran High School ITC Nottingham High School PSLA @ Fowler
“If we had efficient water bottle filling stations in our schools, maybe more students would choose to drink water instead of turning to soda products,” a Corcoran student suggested to Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh.
As part of the Syracuse Youth Advisory Council (SYAC), 15 SCSD students – representing Corcoran, Nottingham, ITC and PSLA at Fowler – students have been meeting at City Hall biweekly to discuss issues facing students in the City and their proposed solutions.
The two issues they chose to focus on with their advocacy: adding water bottle filling stations to the list of school improvements during building construction, and increasing the diversity of teachers in the district’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
“It’s important for us to have teachers who look like us,” Nottingham senior Brynn Murphy-Stanley said. “It’s important that we inspire students to see themselves in professional roles.”
Through meetings with local leaders, the students have gained in-depth knowledge of local history and government, as well as local political structures and how City Hall works. Through the process, they began formulating questions about issues that impact the City of Syracuse. They even had the opportunity to engage with Common Council Members and Mayor Walsh about these issues.
“I wanted to be part of a bigger change and help make the City of Syracuse a better place through my leadership,” Corcoran sophomore Saima Nezami said. “Because of this process, I understand more about the government and political systems. This has given me the skills to be more involved and continue furthering myself in the future.”
The students’ first-hand observations of the political process have not only inspired them to become more engaged; they have also enabled students to pass their knowledge about the government on to others.
“Our parents and teachers and people we talk to get upset about certain things in the City,” Brynn added. “But they don’t understand the obstacles that the City faces when they’re trying to make changes. It’s important for us as kids of color with different backgrounds to play a part in our government and be represented in our community. It makes you realize how much your voice matters and how important it is for you to be active. It’s definitely inspired me to be more active politically in the future!”
To conclude their service on the Youth Advisory Council, students presented their findings to the Syracuse Common Council as part of the SYAC Annual Assembly, where they also made recommendations for improvement and noted what they believe they can do to help improve Syracuse. We’re proud of these #SCSDCivicReady students and look forward to seeing what they will accomplish in the years to come!