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Community Spotlight

2/6/2012 - Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Council Members Russell and Dwyer Treat Recycled Art Contest Winners to Tour of Capitol Building in Albany
Supervisor Jon Kaiman and Council Members Russell and Dwyer Treat Recycled Art Contest Winners to Tour of Capitol Building in Albany
North Hempstead – Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Councilwoman Viviana L. Russell and Councilman Tom Dwyer lead an unprecedented trip to the New York State Capital last week, guiding a group of twenty art students from Westbury High School and Wheatley School in Old Westbury to view their Recycled Art Creations which were on display in the halls of the Capital Building in Albany.

“It was a special experience - a first in my role as Supervisor,” said Supervisor Jon Kaiman. “We organized meetings throughout the day in fields related to the environment and government so our students could get a glimpse of the great work being done our State Capital.”

The trip, organized through the Office of Environmental Sustainability and Director Fran Reid, had the students arrive at the state capital building Wednesday morning to view their recycled art creations displayed in the halls of the Legislative Office Building. The Town of North Hempstead with the help of Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel’s office, arranged for the projects, created through the School Recycling Partnership Programs Recycled Art Content, to be displayed in the halls of the Capitol, a late 19th-century architectural grandeur, built by hand of solid masonry over a period of 25 years.

“Not only were my students immersed in the extraordinary architecture, said Westbury High School Art Teacher, Brenda Restrepo, but they were equally engrossed in government, recycling/sustainability, and of course the art. It was an experience that they will never forget!”

After viewing their art creations, students visited the offices of State Senator Jack Martins who gave insight into the legislative process in Albany, telling the students, “This program (School Recycling Partnership Program) is unique in this country and the fact that you all are here is pretty neat.”

Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel hosted the students for lunch and spoke to them about the importance of voicing their concerns to their elected officials.

“There is nothing more rewarding than to have students of your district come to Albany and see first-hand the government process and how things get done but also to enable them to give voice to their concerns,” said Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel. “The School Recycling Partnership Program should be replicated throughout the state and the country. After all, from Kindergarten to High School you have future stewards of our environment.”

Students were then greeted by Marna Posluvsky and Debbie Jackson from the Department of Environmental Conversation (DEC). She informed the students at length about how the government agency works to promote environmental sustainability throughout the state.

“The faculty and students from Wheatley absolutely enjoyed the day,” said Wheatley High School Principal Sean Feeney. “What a special day it was for them, one they will simply not forget.”

The tour continued, as Kaiman, Russell and Dwyer led the students to the Assembly and the Senate buildings to marvel at the great architecture and history of the two chambers.

While sitting in the wing of the Assembly Chamber, Assemblyman Charles Lavine greeted students from his Westbury District as well as those from Wheatley High School.

“You all are our future and I truly appreciate you coming up to Albany and seeing your government in action,” Lavine told the students.

Students were also welcomed by Assemblyman Robert J. Castelli. Their meeting after that with NYS Assembly Historian Jack McEneny left them with an intriguing piece of information when the Assemblyman posed this question at the end of his remarks: “Do all of you know who owns this building?” As the students looked around for the answer, he interjected, “You do. The people of New York State own this building. Please don’t ever forget that.”

Nicole Walsh, the art teacher at Wheatley said, "Our students were in awe of the beautiful architecture of the building, especially the senate and assembly chambers, and the many grand staircases in the building. Our students have certainly learned that there are so many ways we can become more involved in our state and local government, making a difference through our actions, our words, and even our art work."


Students and elected officials gather on the large steps of the Capital Building.
 

Wheatley and Westbury high school students gather in the grand hallway of the Legislative Office Building where their artwork was displayed.



Senator Jack Martins welcomed Kaiman, Russell, Dwyer and North Hempstead students in his Senate Office Conference room.


Members of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) met with the group to discuss the agency’s mission of promoting environmental sustainability.