NFTA Transporter

Friday, July 22, 2011

Local High School Students Take a Stand

The ninth grade students at the Tapestry Charter High School in North Buffalo wanted to effect change, and to make their point they used their collective voices and the power of the pen. The students wanted to stress to the NFTA that the school requires service from a special Delaware Metro bus to better serve their transportation needs in getting to and from school.

All of the ninth graders kicked off a “Here I Stand” expedition in April with a day devoted to examining institutional power and the idea of creating a voice (theirs) for change.

Initially they investigated historical experiences using Art, Math, Global and the Living Environment and how these elements have led to people being able to bring about social changes in the world over time.

The lessons they learned from their case studies were; an institution can create a system that prevents change; an individual act can spark reform; the process of reform has unpredictable results and “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it’s the only thing that ever does,” Margaret Meade said.

The students also sent a list of questions to Metro’s Service Planning department so they could better understand how it was Metro made planning decisions and how they put service on the street.

Once they received their answers, and they better understood how Metro works, they set about writing letters to Kim Minkel, NFTA executive director, to make their case that they needed service from the 25 Delaware and indicated how Metro could make it happen.

Further, using various forms of paper making, they created a number of artistic pieces entitled Here We Stand, where their letters were mounted on large panels and became the background for the artwork. Using actual photographs of students waiting at a shelter for the Delaware bus they cut out paper silhouettes and placed them on top of the letters. The figures represent the students “standing up” to an institution and for themselves.

According to James Morrell, Metro’s planning manager, Metro is now in the process of evaluating school service levels for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year. As a result of the students united efforts to encourage Metro to operate an afternoon Route 25 Delaware trip from the school Metro is strongly considering their request. “We have been working closely with the Tapestry school to accommodate the students transportation needs,” Morrell said.

For the 2010-2011 school year, Metro provided an afternoon Route 32 Amherst trip directly from the school. As more students are enrolled at their new school campus, additional bus service may be warranted. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to provide safe and sufficient levels of service to the Tapestry Charter High School and hopefully adding an additional afternoon trip on Route 25 Delaware,” Morrell added.

Tapestry student Isabella Baeumler said, “We all learned the history of how people have and can use their voice in a positive way to help bring about change. It was a wonderful learning experience.”

In the picture:
Sara Dolloff, Teacher
Isabella Baeumler, ninth grade
Tyree Bell, ninth grade