Student Leadership in Albany, East Syracuse Minoa students SHINE!
Submitted by Sue Kowalski, NYLA Councilor-at-Large
On Wednesday, March 1, a team of 12 from East Syracuse Minoa headed to Albany, NY to participate in the annual New York Library Association (NYLA) Advocacy Day. Like any worthwhile initiative, it worked because of collaboration and without that teamwork, it would not have happened!
Much gratitude to NYLA for hosting this powerful campaign and Central New York Library Resources Council (CLRC) for organizing a trip to be a part of of this statewide event in Albany, NY. WIth equal appreciation, we are grateful for the support of our principals to attend this event, teachers for understanding the value of student participation, and families for taking care of logistics to get to and from the bus.
As we wanted to be a visible presence, we took full advantage of the ESM PG Tech team and their new business venture. They designed and screened our “Advokids: We speak for libraries” logo on the back of our team shirts. We were quite an impressive looking group donned in our ADVOKIDS apparel. Thanks to Mike Pounds and Dave Ashley, technology teachers, for their production leadership.
CLRC came to the rescue, as well, to provide a professional scholarship ($200) for me to fund the seats on the bus for our students. Sue Padjen, ESM HS Librarian, Sue Kowalski, Pine Grove Librarian, and Jude Nagurney-Camwell, aunt of one of our students provided supervision.
After a 7am departure, we headed east and arrived in Albany for our scheduled appointments. We met with Patty Richie, Chairperson for Libraries from the NY Senate, Senator Valesky and Senator DeFrancisco and shared our perspectives on the impact that school libraries can and do have, especially if they are staffed with a full time librarian. Students shared their views and what the library has meant to them in their academic careers.
We also participated in the RALLY where 100s gathered to hear from the numerous legislative supporters who pledged to support fully funding libraries.
After a quick lunch, we toured the plaza (between government buildings, visited the Capitol building, went to the historic carousel, enjoyed the 46th floor of the state observation tower, and visited the NYS museum.
It was an amazing day that gave our students a chance to see government in action and see the power of their voice in all that they pursue. An event like this is also an exemplar of collaboration between our school and our community and our entire team benefited because of it.
We will be doing follow up with the legislators we met, our NYLA partners, the team at OCMBOCES School Library System, and our own community members as we know advocacy is an everyday commitment, not just a one-day event.
Thank you to students listed below who represented their peers at ESM: