Daysi Barahona, 18, is a senior at Spring Valley High School. She’ll graduate this spring with about half a dozen Advanced Placement courses on her transcript and plans to study business and event planning in college.
Daysi was born in Ecuador and moved to Rockland with her family when she was just 4 years old. She learned English quickly and later taught her three younger siblings the language; as a child, she often translated for her parents. Shouldering that important responsibility over the years prepared her to take on leadership roles in school. In addition to her AP classes and sometimes working after school, she participates in the high school’s thespian troupe, Key Club and the Student Alliance for Equality (SAFE).
Daysi and her classmates in Kathleen Siddi’s AP Environmental Science class participated in the Rockland PLUS (Planning Land Use with Students) program last month along with high schools around the county. The annual symposium at the end of March is the culmination of three week’s of work during which the students designed a sustainable land-use project for a site within their community.
Check out the video above for Daysi’s description of Rockland PLUS.
Daysi’s class sought to enhance the Spring Valley Transit Station, located in the heart of the village, and turn it into a community hub with space for recreation and education. The group presented their plan at the symposium and got feedback from professionals from around the region on real-life aspects — like the train schedule, the elevation of the platform or financial resources — that would affect the project.
Rockland P.L.U.S. is a partnership of Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Keep Rockland Beautiful, Rockland Conservation & Service Corps and SUNY Rockland Community College. For more information, go to http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/edu/plus/