MONTPELIER — Student safety on the streets of the Capital City was celebrated at a school assembly at Main Street Middle School.
The assembled on Thursday was told that all students would receive a reflective arm band this week to wear after dusk to alert motorists to their presence after an “upper grade” student was injured in a traffic accident while crossing the street late last year.
The eighth-grade Crafter’s Edge group took the lead on addressing student safety on city streets and worked closely with the city’s Montpelier Complete Streets Committee, which spent nearly $400 to buy more than 400 arm bands for all middle school students.
The Crafter’s Edge is an eighth-grade business group that raises funds for theater, fairs, dances, school trips, and to make donation to area nonprofits. Funds are raised through the sale of class woodwork projects, crafts, artwork and baked goods. In the 2016-2017 school year, Crafter’s Edge raised more than $13,000.
The Complete Streets Committee works to address safety on city streets for all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Jess Dewes, MSMS art teacher, said it was the students who took the initiative to address safety.
The students did research on road accidents, came up with possible solutions, and met with city officials to discuss a proposal to address the problem, she added.
Anika Turcotte, co-president of Crafter’s Edge, led the celebration of the successful campaign at Thursday’s assembly.
“Crafter’s Edge has received a donation from the Montpelier Complete Streets Committee for everyone in the school to get a reflective arm bracelet,” Turcotte said. “You can wear it on your sleeve or your backpack, or if you’re into scootering or biking, you can do that, too. They’re easy to carry around and slap on, so you can have them at any time.”
Diya Kulkarni, fellow co-president, presented statistics to support the safety campaign.
“In 2016 alone, nearly 6,000 pedestrians were killed by car crashes in the United States, many of which could have been prevented by wearing simple reflective gear,” Kulkarni said. “In that year, one in every five kids who were killed in traffic accidents were pedestrians.”
“A student in our own school was injured in a vehicular incident, and because of that incident, Complete Streets has partnered with Crafter’s Edge to give you all these snazzy, reflective arm bands,” added Rose Brassard, secretary for Crafter’s Edge.
Gary Holloway, chairman of Complete Streets Committee, said the committee was responsive to the students’ request and credited them for taking the initiative.
“In response to the middle school student that was struck by a car on Main Street back in the late fall, the Crafter’s Group was really concerned about student safety and wanted to do something to help students become more visible,” Holloway said, noting that the student campaign coincided with previous campaigns on street safety by the committee. “They put a proposal to our committee that we ultimately voted out, and approved the funding of the arm bands. We thought it was a great effort by the eighth-grade Crafter’s Group to take a leadership role for the students and have an impact on every student there.”
Holloway said the committee asked the Crafter’s Edge leadership to report back on the success of the campaign. Crafter’s Edge also was encouraged to raise additional funds to buy armbands to be distributed to new students in the next school year, he added.
Principal Pam Arnold said she was impressed by the advocacy effort.
“As soon as one of their own peers had been injured in the city, crossing the street, they took that initiative on their own,” Arnold said. “I actually learned about it after when I was made aware that they were going to the City Council to make a presentation and have a conversation. It’s also brought up a lot of different conversations with adults in different meetings I’ve been to about what happens when it gets to be dusk or it’s dark in Montpelier.”
Crafter’s Edge has an Instagram account to promote its fundraising activities at #msmsartroom. To learn more about Crafter’s Edge, visit www.craftersedge.org