Certain times in the mornings and afternoons, driving down Park Drive can be a slow-go, especially around the school bells. Keeping everyone safe is the Grand Ridge Elementary (GRE) Safety Patrol.
According to Cyndi Thompson, GRE Safety Patrol Coordinator: “GRE Safety Patrol is a select group of dedicated fourth and fifth graders monitoring the way to-and-from school, for both parents and kiddos, every day of the school year. The program’s in its 12th year, with approximately 70 students volunteering (that’s about 850 students, over the years). The kids start in August with job training. The program also provides many leadership and responsibility opportunities, teaching kids to set good examples for the whole school, reliably modeling those safety rules, and assisting all students in safe transitions.”
Additionally, the kids “learn to take pride our country’s flag” with lessons in history, civics, and citizenship. Through “proper etiquette, symbolizing pride in our school community, the Safety Patrol proudly hoists and lowers the U.S. flag in accordance with United States Code.”
Along with the life lessons, everyone genuinely enjoys the camaraderie, along with the hard work.
Each year, Cyndi’s favorite part of the job is “interacting with the kids, talking to everyone, and watching them grow. They make me smile and laugh.” Munazza Rizvi, GRE School Secretary, appreciates “seeing kids’ smiles, greeting and welcoming them each day, while learning everyone’s name. Then, watching the kids leave school, they always want to say goodbye.” Riley Mack loved “the big pizza party at the end of the year. [It] was so much fun, a celebration with all my friends. I look forward to volunteering next year, too!” Lizzie Dean liked “hanging out with the EAs (education assistants). They were the best!” Sophia Jones remembers “helping all the little kids who would sometimes hold your hand, and always smile in gratitude. Then, they would giggle and wave in the hallways.”
However, Cyndi has a few important messages for everyone traveling through during the rush: “SLOW DOWN, and please be patient! These kids are trying to get to/from school, and trust adults to do the right thing. Safety Patrol is a good reminder that we all need to go a little extra slow, and pay a little extra attention.”
Munazza Rizvi adds: “We’ve had many close calls where parents drive through flags. We need everyone’s help in being good role models! When anyone is in the crosswalk, either side, STOP. The kids are depending on it.” Most importantly, Cyndi notes, “The kids are our number one priority! So, think about that.”
Rain, shine, sleet, whatever the weather, Safety Patrol is on the job! AND thank you to Cyndi Thompson, EAs and staff, and the Safety Patrol for keeping everyone safe! Our community is grateful for your dedication!
“We've had many close calls where parents drive through flags. When anyone is in the crosswalk, either side, STOP. The kids are depending on it.”Munazza RizviGRE School Secretary