By Carlotta Mohamed
Six Queens schools swept the Department of Transportation’s “We’re Walking Here” competition that encourages students to engage in a healthy and active lifestyle while learning about street safety.
As part of the “We’re Walking Here” efforts, students track the number of blocks they walked over a two-week period and then engage in classroom activities, where the final project is a public service announcement — either a video or poster — to convey messages the students learned through the curriculum.
This year’s winners in the video category include: Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School taking first place in Astoria; PS 94 in Little Neck the second spot; and Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School in Ozone Park topping third. Winners in the poster category include: Middle School 226 in South Ozone Park taking first place; Al-Ihsan Academy in South Ozone Park in second; and PS 16 in Corona taking the third spot.
“We are so proud of all the students who put their creative minds behind the crucial message of the ‘We’re Walking Here’ campaign,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “With more than 100 schools participating, this year’s winning entries have really connected to the critical message of Vision Zero. I heartily invite more schools to get involved and participate in this creative competition.”
The competition, open to all New York City schools, launched in October in conjunction with International Walk-to-School Day. Participants downloaded grade specific lesson plans developed by DOT’s Safety Education and Outreach Division. The first place winners of this year’s competition received a $1,000 grant, the second place schools took home a $500 prize, and third place schools got $250.
“Queens is so proud of our students who produced such compelling PSAs that prioritize safety and healthy active lifestyle choices for all New Yorkers,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “Congratulations to the winning entrants — all of whom happen to be from Queens! — and all the participants in this year’s citywide competition.”
Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School, first place winner in the video category, submitted a video showing the grave consequences of texting while driving on the road.
South Ozone Park Middle School’s 226 winning PSA poster read: “Don’t Die Sending a Reply: Don’t Text and Drive.”
State Assembly Member Michele Titus (D-Far Rockaway) said the “We’re Walking Here” campaign also educates drivers and the general public about the importance of not driving safely in school zones.
“Every child’s life is precious and we must do everything in our power to ensure their safe commute from speeding motorists to and from school,” Titus said. “The loss of even one child is too many.”
Interested schools can now pre-register for next year’s “We’re Walking Here” competition by visiting nyc.gov/
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha