As we mark the AAA School Safety Patrol’s 100th birthday, AAA Washington selected ten exceptional patrollers for induction into its AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame. In addition, the club recognized an Everett patroller who saved a life while she was on duty!
The seven girls and three boys making up the 2020 AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame class represent communities from across Washington. A panel of judges from AAA Washington, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Washington Traffic Safety Commission selected these patrollers for their traffic safety advocacy, leadership skills and improvements to their school squad.
Cameron Boness, Ritzville Grade School – Ritzville
The judges focused on Boness’ initiative for improving the AAA School Safety Patrol program each day. According to his advisor, Boness adeptly trained and mentored new patrollers in safety patrol procedures, ensured patrollers were at crosswalks well in advance of student arrivals, worked double shifts to cover all posts, and created a “Top 5 Things About Safety Patrol” handout encouraging fourth-graders to sign up for patrol next fall. Patrol advisor Terrie Swartz said, “The booklet that Boness put together shows me that he likes to be a safety patrol officer and wants to share with others. I really think he is qualified to represent us at Ritzville Grade School.”
Elana Bronsther, Echo Lake Elementary – Shoreline
Bronsther took action when she spotted safety issues at her school, creating a new patroller post in a hallway where unsafe and loud first graders waited for classes to begin. Patrol advisor, Joe Wack said she found a way to reassign four patrollers to that area without affecting other posts. He calls it a wonderful improvement for the school.
As instructed, Bronsther notified Wack when she saw a parent driving while talking or texting on a cell phone. The advisor says one parent, initially angry about her report, later thanked Bronsther for doing her job. “This parent finally realized the bigger picture of student safety,” Wack said. “She was very apologetic and complemented Bronsther for having the courage to speak up about her dangerous driving habit.”
Brooke Chisholm, Moran Prairie Elementary – Spokane
The nomination for Chisholm highlighted her outstanding leadership and communication skills. Patrol advisor, Debby Smith said that because of her kind and helpful manner, students with special needs and the kindergarten class felt comfortable and safe with Chisholm in charge. Teachers and parents alike have commented on Chisholm’s leadership abilities with fellow patrollers and the students who need help crossing busy streets or reaching the bus area. “Sometimes kids can get a little silly, but not Chisholm.” Smith said. “She is reliable, responsible and always focused on the safety of students. She takes the duty seriously.”
Cameron Cook, Syre Elementary – Shoreline
Cook’s nomination centered on his drive towards making things better. The patrol captain consistently led by example, jumping in where needed, demonstrating the proper management of each post. It is an intimidating task for any sixth-grader, telling fellow students how to behave. Cook’s ability for speaking up and enforcing the rules impressed his patrol advisor, Jenny Hodgen. She is also a big fan of his new initiative, rewarding students who obey the rules with positive behavior slips. “Cook’s idea of using positive reinforcements for students in order to encourage the desired behavior is exactly what we were looking for,” Hodgen said. “He is always seeking ways to improve the system and make the job safer for students.”
Isabelle Crochet, Carson Elementary – Puyallup
Crochet’s ingenuity dazzled the judges; she invented a multi-functioning safety flag for the science fair. After interviewing patrol advisor Barbara Nequette about crossing flags, Crochet carefully measured the school’s existing equipment and created her own version. Even though her final product ended up a bit heavy, Nequette said Crochet did a fantastic job attaching gloves, an umbrella and a tissue pack to the pole while still meeting the state’s reflective material requirements for the flag she made.
Nequette came to rely on Crochet to train her new patrollers and gave her the responsibility of announcing the end of afternoon shifts to the school office and adult crossing guards via walkie-talkie. “Isabelle will be greatly missed next year,” she said, “but I know she will (and has) left much positive energy with the remaining and upcoming patrol students and staff.”
Adelyn Etzel, Marcus Whitman Elementary – Richland
Etzel’s passion for her patrol program and traffic safety impressed the judges. While on duty, Etzel trained new patrol members, prioritized patrol assignments to the highest traffic areas and even recorded the license plate numbers of vehicles failing to stop at a crosswalk.
According to patrol advisor Tanya Olson, Marcus Whitman Elementary had few members until Etzel suggested weekly treats for patrollers doing a good job. Rewarding the student volunteers for their hard work did wonders for the school’s program. “We have 25 patrol students at this time; the most we’ve ever had,” said Olson. “She (Etzel) helped increase participation and morale.”
Brian McGann, Hamblen Elementary – Spokane
Despite it being his first year with the AAA School Safety Patrol, McGann quickly earned the role of captain at the busiest intersections around Hamblen Elementary. Patrol advisor, Tamarra Tappe, said McGann communicates well with both students and adults seen behaving in unsafe ways, always delivering his message with good manners. While on patrol, he has reported multiple incidents of cars endangering patrollers and pedestrians. Tappe described McGann as the consummate role model, no matter the situation. “He has trained countless newcomers to our team with a smile on his face,” Tappe said. “Many of his peers look up to him.”
Victoria Ngo, Tiffany Park Elementary – Renton
A fifth-grade student at Tiffany Park Elementary, Ngo was the school’s first head team captain. In that position, Ngo supervised the squad’s six patrol captains, trained new patrollers, organized and led monthly meetings and created clever games to help patrollers remember safety procedures.
Patrol advisor Denise Gomes said Ngo noticed and reported how long lines of vehicles entering and exiting the school parking lot from both directions obstructed patrollers’ views, made it difficult to do their jobs. That led to the City of Renton posting new traffic signs eliminating left turns into the parking lot; stating where cars can and cannot park. “This has been a huge insight on keeping the congested areas safe for our community,” Gomes said. “It has been students like Ngo who are making a difference in our school in keeping all children, staff and families safe.”
Sabine Pasinetti, Forest View Elementary – Everett
Pasinetti’s nomination highlighted her leadership abilities. Patrol advisor Andrea Rosen pointed out that when Pasinetti sees a need, she steps in to fill it, often unprompted. When it comes to safety, Rosen said Pasinetti finds a way to exhibit kindness while addressing serious issues with children and adults alike. “She is not afraid to tell parents or fellow peers it is not safe to cross,” said Rosen. “She models high expectations to making sure all students at Forest View are safe.”
Arielle Valencia, Allen Creek Elementary – Marysville
Valencia impressed the panel of judges with her problem-solving skills. Last fall, she started meeting bus patrol members on arrival at school, and handing out their safety vests. Since those patrollers no longer needed to go inside to pick up their vests, they could help supervise the kindergarten students immediately. Valencia also suggested a new location for kindergarten students to wait for their buses, under cover and out of the rain. According to patrol advisor, Sue Diamond, “Valencia’s focus is on what she can do to ensure safety always comes first. She has done this by coming up with solutions for the improvement and success of our patrol team at Allen Creek Elementary.”
Lifesaver Award – Morgan deLeur, Garfield Elementary - Everett
On the afternoon of January 31, 2020, the Garfield Elementary AAA School Safety Patrol worked the intersection of 23rd and Pine in Everett, helping student pedestrians safely cross the busy streets. According to patrol advisor Teresa Cecil, 10-year-old patroller Morgan deLeur made a rescue while crossing an 11-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother. Morgan noticed a car, stopped on the other side of the intersection when the group stepped into the road, was now driving towards them. Morgan instinctively grabbed the sweatshirt of the 11-year-old girl, preventing her from stepping into the path of the oncoming car, which never slowed down or stopped.
AAA Washington recognized Morgan with a statewide Lifesaver Award. She has also been awarded the national AAA Lifesaving Medal.
Advisor of the Year
Patricia Boudreaux is the AAA School Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year. She has been running the patrol program at Adams Elementary for 26 years. School administrators said not only does Boudreaux often know the older siblings of her current patrollers, sometimes she knows the moms and dads! AAA Washington honored Boudreaux for more than longevity. In addition to her duties instructing patrollers about safety, responsibility, time management and punctuality, Boudreaux takes time to get to know the students. By asking about their interests, hobbies and families, Adams Elementary students feel Boudreaux cares about them and is there to keep them safe.