Six Queens schools were announced as winners of the city Department of Transportation’s “We’re Walking Here” competition.
The purpose of the competition was for local schools to propose creative public-service announcements that encourage city dwellers to make active lifestyle choices and walk around their neighborhoods. The competition’s roots are in the mayor’s Vision Zero initiative, and it aims to educate the public on the community responsibilities of street safety.
South Ozone Park’s MS 226Q won first place in the poster category, while Al-Ihsan Academy—also in South Ozone Park—won second place. The Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School 210Q in Ozone Park won third place in the video category, while Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School in Astoria took first place in the video category, Corona’s PS 16Q came in third in the poster category and Little Neck’s PS 94Q won second place in the video category.
“I applaud these young people, and especially the ones in my district, for using their creativity to promote a message of safety to their fellow students and all New Yorkers,” said State Sen. James Sanders Jr. (D-South Ozone Park). “I encourage more young people to take part in these types of events and others held by the DOT. Congratulations to all of the participants. You are all winners.”
The DOT announced that, in the competition, students tracked the numbers of blocks they walked on the way to school over a two-week period and then discussed their experiences in the classroom. Part of their final project was a public service announcement that conveyed what they learned during those two weeks and how a healthy, active lifestyle can be incorporated into daily transportation.
“Queens is so proud of our students who produced such compelling PSAs that prioritize safety and healthy active lifestyle choices for all New Yorkers,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said.
The competition started in October and was open to all city schools. Students who participated downloaded grade-specific lesson plans created by the DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach division. The first place winners for this year’s competition receive a $1,000 grant, while second place schools get a $500 prize and third place schools receive $250. All prize money is provided by the Safe Streets Fund, a private-public partnership dedicated to promoting safe streets, especially for school-age children.
“I am thrilled to learn that two winners attend schools located in the great District 28,” Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica), who added that the program enabled a Vision Zero-related message to “resonate with our youth.”