The daily walk to school for hundreds of Hamilton elementary students is now safer thanks to the creativity of three sixth-graders.
Three Highland Elementary students came up with an idea in the spring to propose and seek local grant funding for installation of a crosswalk at the corner of Franklin and Millville streets in the city’s Armondale neighborhood.
But they went beyond the idea by soliciting local micro-grants – eventually earning the city more than $2,000 toward the proposed crosswalk from the local 17Strong nonprofit, named and represented by citizens from Hamilton’s 17 neighborhoods.
The three students – Xavier Hoxie, Malin Matheny and Kamyn Frazier – recently donned city street construction worker reflective jackets to watch city workers create the crosswalk they envisioned become a reality.
And joining the three, who will begin the seventh grade later in August, was Hamilton Mayor Pat Moeller, who personally congratulated them for their work to enhance the safety of dozens of Highland students who cross the streets walking to school each day.
Nearby Ty Smallwood, former principal of Highland – now promoted to principal of Hamilton Freshman School – watched, too, and marveled at his students.
“The crosswalk is now finished and it’s really cool because they finished it while the kids were right there and they (city traffic engineers) talked to them about the materials used,” said Smallwood, whose former elementary enrolled 700 students of whom about 70% walk to and from school.
The crosswalk came from a classroom project where Highland sixth-graders mapped their neighborhood assets “because we wanted them to think positively about where they live,” he said.
“All three are high-energy kids, and Malin really took the lead in the group. They were very motivated. And the idea of having real money attached to it was also motivating. They really rocked it,” he said of the students who wrote the application for the 17Strong grant.
Matheny said she and many of her classmates who live near her walk to school
“And when I lived in Lebanon a friend of mine got hit by a car. And I thought since all these kids (in Hamilton) are walking to school, a crosswalk would help them not getting hit by a car.”
When she saw the crosswalk constructed, she was impressed: “It’s very cool.”
Matheny’s mother – Autumn Perkins – said she is proud of her daughter.
“I think she is going to be a world changer. She did the research and she really wanted to win the grant money so she could do something in the neighborhood,” said Perkins.