St. Adalbert’s 8th Graders Improve Local Street Safety Through Service Project

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Queens, NY

By Jessica Easthope

A group of 8th-grade students at St. Adalbert’s Catholic Academy looks on with pride as they complete their service project. It took nine months to finish but will long outlive their time. They’re the ones that made this street safer near the school.

Student Saoirsie Timmons saw her life flash before her eyes.

“I think that it’s really, like, sad that people would even speed next to a school, even if there is no speed bump, and that they wouldn’t even like, think about that,” Timmons said.

She did what she did every day at dismissal, never thinking it might be dangerous.

“I like to sit in the passenger seat of my car, so I started to go for a walk, and a car sped past without even taking into consideration that he’s right next to a school,” Timmons said. “He sped past, and I almost got hit while trying to go into the passenger seat.”

It was that October day that her classmates and teacher Michele Cardona, who witnessed the incident, collectively realized what their service project for the year would be.

“It was born of necessity, and then it dawned on me, you know, there are no speed bumps,” Ms. Cardona said. “Why don’t we have speed bumps?”

Determined to have a speed bump put in front of their school, the kids filled out the necessary forms on the Department of Transportation website. 

They got a prompt rejection. 

“Everywhere you go, you see a speed bump,” Ms. Cardona said. “Why not us? So we took that to them. I said, you know, are we going to just say okay, or are we going to say, let’s do something?

It was time to put this service project in full gear.

“It’s not fair because they said yes to public schools, but like as a Catholic school, they like to say no to it,” “So we want it to make sure that we have like an equal safety to that of a public school.”

“Just because we’re a Catholic school doesn’t mean that we don’t need safety.”

Most public schools in the area, including the three surrounding St. Adalbert’s, have speed bumps and reduced speed limits.

Their legacy wasn’t taking a backseat to the D.O.T.’s bureaucratic red tape; this was for future generations of students.

“I don’t know how many other kids almost got clipped, but one is too many,” “And we asked the bold question. Why are Catholic school kids not being protected?”

The answer is that the speed bump would be installed.

It’s now been in for a week, but has it stopped irresponsible drivers?

The road is already damaged from speeders bottoming out, but the 8th grade made a fundamental change with prayer and perseverance.

“There’s kids passing, and there’s young kids too, and they should be more careful now,” “It’s safer for all the kids that want to, or that need to cross the street.”

“A lot of people have actually gone through the same things as Saoirse did,” “And, people like haven’t really noticed until just then. And we thought it was very important that we prioritize our children’s safety.”

“As the leaders of this school, it is kind of our job and like we learn from other people’s mistakes,” “So we’re able to make these decisions that an adult may have struggled with because we see it from a different perspective.”

Now, this is how the Class of 2024 will be remembered.

“And now they have a legacy. Class of 2024,” “It’s a good thing we did a good thing.”

As the 8th graders soon move on to the next chapter of their lives, the road might not always be smooth, but at least they’ll always have this bump to be proud of.