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SCSD Students Inspired to Create Change, Thanks to 1st Amendment - 1st Vote Conference

This is a photo of the Corcoran, Henninger, and Nottingham students who attended the First Amendment, First Vote event.Corcoran students are planning a reliable and accessible system to help girls obtain menstrual products at school. Henninger students are planning to create a schoolwide campaign to bring voice and awareness to the power of women’s voices; and Nottingham students are promoting teen care – aiming to provide students with resources, contraceptives, hygiene products, and information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“There’s a severe lack of period products – and general hygiene products – here in our school,” sophomore Reagan Winchell said. “There’s also a big stigma about sex education, and teen pregnancy rates are on the rise. We want to make contraceptives, hygiene, and period products available for free. This will make sure that women’s needs are met and we can feel safe and seen.”
Through the 1st Amendment-1st Vote, Inc. conference, 11 girls representing Corcoran, Henninger, and Nottingham traveled to Auburn to get a non-partisan look at the democratic process, with the goal of enabling them to see themselves in elected office or other government-related positions.
“It’s nice to see a lot of schools coming together and trying to find solutions to problems in our schools,” Corcoran senior Ya’Ninna Wade said. “It was informative… I learned a lot! We watched a video about a woman who was one of the first to help Martin Luther King with his marches. Just seeing what she went through and all she did is incredible. It really inspires me to help make a change here in my school.”
“I’m really into politics and law,” Corcoran junior Shaima Osman added. “I have a strong moral compass, and this program appealed to me because I felt like it would be the first step to putting what I think into action. It’s taught me how to make an action plan and then use my voice to motivate others. My ultimate goal is to make hygiene and menstrual products available in the bathrooms here at Corcoran – and then, I’d like to have products available somewhere in the school foyer as well. We need to make these things easily accessible. So many kids don’t have access to things like this, and they are teased for how they look or smell. I want to use this as an opportunity to create more inclusivity in our school.”
At the two-day conference, students came together with other young women throughout New York State and learned about the importance of casting an informed vote in every election they are eligible; the U.S. political process; government related jobs; the legacy of Seneca Falls, NY; the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; the significance of contributions of Indigenous Women and Women of Color to democracy; and more.
“I liked to hear other peoples’ points of view,” Henninger sophomore Kaliya Delgado shared. “I took inspiration from the ideas other schools are implementing, like creating period product drives and pantries and things like that. Ultimately, I really want to help people. This group speaks to me because I want to help other people learn to speak their mind. Everyone has their own opinions, but this showed me that we can all come together and make a plan to help amplify women’s voices.”
Prior to the conference, the SCSD students came together for a District-level roundtable, where they heard from local women in power – like SCSD Board of Education President Tamica Barnett, New York State Senator Rachel May, and others. The women spoke about their background, their education, and what led them to where they are today.
“I liked hearing the women in power talk,” Henninger junior Caitlin McNulty said. “I believe that women have a different perspective on things… we think differently and have different views than men. I already know I want to be an early childhood educator, but this experience has helped me find my voice. I believe that I’ll be a better teacher because of this.”
“It’s important for us to advocate for more women participating in government,” Reagan added. “I don’t personally have an interest in that, but this group is important because it offers opportunities for those girls who may be interested!”
In addition to their schoolwide poster campaign, Henninger students are also planning future mentoring with elementary students, potentially from Salem Hyde or Huntington.
“I think it’s great that we’re messaging in our school about the importance of women’s voices,” Henninger junior Myrna Riegelman said. “But I really want to give back to younger girls, too. I want to show them that they have a voice, and that what they choose to do matters. I know that growing up, it’s really important to have goals, morals, and meaningful ideas surrounding you. I want to be able to help them with that.”
“I feel like for younger girls, there aren’t many people who are advocating for them,” Nottingham sophomore Nyla Hardy agreed. “It’s important that we step up and do that for them. If there had been groups like this advocating for me when I was young, I think it would have made me feel more comfortable and less alone.”
Congratulations to Corcoran students Shaima Osman and Yanina Wade; Henninger students Kaliya Delgado and Caitlin McNulty; Nottingham students Amina Jeilani, Atiya Haque, Reagan Winchell, Dahabo Abdirahim, Nyla Hardy, Meryam Saka, Tarteel Ali, Tahsin Islam, Fatma Mohamed, and Helen Zhe-Heimerman (as well as members Mia Leo, Mina Alsafi, Seineh Weah, Amirah Mohammad, Angelina Gomez, Abby Carello, and Molly Myers – who were unable to attend the state conference); as well as advisors Annie Smith, Heather Moses, Noelle Files, and Emma Smith, who attended with the girls. We’re proud of you for working to become #SCSDCivicReady leaders!
Anthony Q. Davis, Superintendent
725 Harrison Street
Syracuse, NY 13210
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