February 3, 2017
State Street Scarves: Niskayuna and Schenectady student partners hop on CDTA
to help out the community
students look to strengthen connection between their schools
A group of Niskayuna and Schenectady high school students spent Thursday
afternoon spreading warmth and kindness along State Street in the form of
nearly 500 scarves decorated with messages of hope tied to street signs,
poles, and railings, left for anyone who could use one.
A group of 25 students have forged a partnership between the two schools
this year and the scarf project was their first joint activity. They first
came together through peer leadership training sponsored this fall by the
"We wanted to keep meeting with each other and we came up with the idea to
do something to help our community," said Jessica Grant, a senior at
Schenectady High School.
CDTA also joined in the partnership, providing transportation for
students along the State Street corridor. At three stops from Liberty Park
through the area of Steuben and State streets, students quickly fanned out,
working in small teams to leave the scarves â€“ and inspirational messages
â€“where they were likely to be spotted and put to good use.
Both schools collected the scarves in recent weeks, and donations poured in
from staff, students and families.
"It's fun to do something to give back to people who don't have a lot," said
Dey'lon Edmonds, a Niskayuna High School junior.
Aside from Thursday's activity, the students have met twice so far this year
to learn more about each other's schools and discuss issues of diversity,
inclusion and what they can do to bring their neighboring communities
together. The group includes members of Niskayuna High School's SAPE club
(Students Advocating for a Positive Environment), an existing
Anti-Defamation League initiative and the Power of Peace Club in
Schenectady, as well as others who wanted to be involved in the new
The faculty members steering the initiative are Niskayuna High School
Spanish teacher Monica DiCocco and Schenectady High School's Anne-Marie
Warren and Sara Telban.
Students say they continue to be struck by how close their two schools are
geographically, and the ways that they are alike and different. They noted
that students who attend one school often have preconceived ideas about what
it is like at the other one â€“ and it is helpful to come together and realize
that these perceptions are not often true.
"For us to put that aside and do something for other people, it shows
everyone that they can do something," said KeyLynn Belrose-Westfall, a
Schenectady High School senior.
The students have also been discussing the possibility of organizing a
community service day late this spring.
Both high schools would like to thank the Capital District Transportation
Authority (CDTA) for generously agreeing to provide transportation for
Thursday's activity as part of its ongoing partnership with the schools.