Teen recognized for work to make school safer

- A 14-year-old student is making the grade even before school starts - working to make the streets around her school safer for pedestrians.

Makayla Trowell lobbied for a traffic light in front of her middle school in Spring Hill, and she got it. It wasn't easy, and those who came out to recognize her achievement Tuesday say she deserves an A in civic service.

Makayla never wanted to walk the streets around Cruz Lake Middle School.

"I know children walk up and down this street, coming and going from school, and it felt very unsafe. I've always asked my dad why there isn't a signal here," Makayla explained.

When Makayla started asking questions, she wasn't completely satisfied with the answers. 

"Someone at the district said it would take three to four years to get a traffic light put up and I said there have been 17 accidents here. How could that not justify a traffic light being up?" Makayla said.

So Makayla set out to make it happen. She created a petition and sat in front of the school and a local business gathering signatures. When she got the 500 signatures she needed, she met with county staff and one county commissioner, Jack Mariano.

"We did a study on it and looked at it, and with all the speed possible when working in government. We got it done, so now before school opens up we'll have the traffic light in place and ready to go," Mariano said.

The county commissioner joined others in front of the school to recognize Makayla's efforts and praise the example she's setting for other students.

Makayla says, "It's so amazing to know that I did something for the community, to help everybody and make it safer for everybody."

Makayla isn't stopping there. She's now pushing for a stop light in front of a nearby firehouse.

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