- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
As each school day begins cars line up and children begin pouring into the parking lot; parents drop off their kids and then hastily make their way out of the busy scene; and Ashley Deare straps on her safety patrol belt and badge and goes to work.
Carpool is not only a chaotic time, but it also poses considerable risk to the children as they navigate the busy parking lot.
Each morning at Dr. Gustavus Brown Elementary School in Waldorf, 11-year-old Ashley stands with several other safety patrols, her eyes sharply assessing the actions of each student and driver. Accoutered in a lime green belt and a hard-earned captain’s badge, her mission is simple to keep everyone safe.
At the beginning of June, Ashley was one of 16 local elementary school students recognized with the 2011 Outstanding AAA School Safety Patrol Award for the Mid-Atlantic region.
While describing her job, Ashley explained that during school arrival and departure times, teachers, buses and parents all have different lines through which they are to drive.
“But sometimes they get confused,” she explained. “We have to direct them to the correct line and make sure they go to the right place.”
At times, some people will get impatient while waiting behind a bus and try to go through the parking lot, she said, and that’s when her job got more difficult.
In fifth grade, Ashley already recognizes the importance of knowing how to be serious when the stakes are high.
“It’s not just fun and games,” she said of her job. “It’s serious business.”
It came as no surprise to her teachers and peers when Ashley was honored with the award this year.
“We don’t have a more deserving student,” Brown Principal Marvin Jones said. “She’s not only safety-conscious but also excellent academically.”
“She’s a real role model for all of our students,” Jones said.