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UV Students Lobby for School-based Health Center

A Visit to the State Capitol Building
A report from UV Student Advocate, Kevin Nial

On Tuesday Feb. 9, Paul Arandia and I had the pleasure of accompanying four Unadilla Valley High School students to the New York State Capitol in Albany. Paul is the Social Worker in the Unadilla Valley School-based Health Clinic and was instrumental in coordinating our visit to the Capitol.

The purpose of our trip was to be a part of Advocacy Day to support school-based health centers. Students from all across New York State were present to take part in this endeavor. The students from Unadilla Valley that were chosen to be a part of this were, Abagail Oglesby, Kendra Manwarren, Michael Turner an d Elyssa Franklin. I met these students in the front of the Unadilla Valley School Building at 7 p.m. in the morning. The first thing that struck me was how well dressed they were. In appearance, they seemed ready to meet with and talk to some important people at the Capitol Building.

We arrived at the Capitol Building at approximately 10 a.m. in the morning and went to our first scheduled event. This first gathering was in large conference room where students from schools across the state came together to begin the day. During this time we heard from Assemblymen Pete Lopez and Richard Gottfried. They each were supportive of school-based health centers and talked about the importance of having this resource available in the schools. This was also the time for students to go to the microphone and share personal stories of how school-based health centers have impacted their lives in a positive manner.

Our next stop was to have a private appointment with Assemblyman Clifford Crouch and his assistant, Jenny. Our students did a great job of sharing their own personal stories of how our school-based clinic has been a benefit to them. They also had a discussion with Assemblyman Crouch on why this program should remain in our school and the importance of ongoing funding.

Following our appointment with Assemblyman Crouch we were surprised and excited that he invited us on to the Assembly floor to observe the proceedings. The Assembly was in session as is typical for a Tuesday afternoon. Shortly after we arrived on the floor our names were publically announced as guests. Assemblyman Crouch explained that the announcing of our names is now an official part of history. He also spent a lot of time with us and explained the process that we were witnessing on the Assembly floor.

I know that I speak for Paul when I say that I could not have been more proud of our students. They presented themselves in a very professional manner and they represented Unadilla Valley School in excellent form. If you happen to see any of these four students I encourage you to ask them for more details about the day, I know that they will be excited to tell you all about the experience from their own perspective.

Kevin Nial
Unadilla Valley Student Advocate

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