Safest child around

Published 11:01 pm Friday, March 11, 2011

Safety first: Aliyyah Copeland was selected as this year’s AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year. Aliyyah is a fifth grade student at Southwestern Elementary School. She will be recognized at a June 3 AAA banquet.

Suffolk student selected as Tidewater’s Safety Patroller of the Year

Fifth-grader Aliyyah Copeland has been selected as the safest kid in Tidewater.

Out of 3,734 safety patrollers from 154 schools, Aliyyah was selected as the AAA Tidewater Virginia 2010-2011 School Safety Patroller of the Year.

“I nominated Aliyyah because she exuded what a safety patroller should. She’s respectful, responsible and always on time,” said Tammy Spruill, teacher’s assistant and co-sponsor of the safety patrol program at Southwestern Elementary School, where Aliyyah attends. “When you have a child that’s that sweet and smart, you feel so happy when they get recognized for something.”


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This is the school’s third year of having a AAA School Safety Patrol program and Aliyyah’s second year as a safety patroller.

“I wanted the kids in my school to be safer,” Aliyyah said of why she signed up to help.

As a safety patroller, Aliyyah opens the door for younger students in the mornings, helps line up kids to get on their buses at the end of the day and helps make sure no one is running in the hallway.

“If you run, you might trip and fall,” she said. “Safety patrols are important. We don’t want the kids in the community to get hurt by running or doing dangerous things.”

Aliyyah was in history class when she found out she had been named safety patroller of the year.

“I was very excited because I didn’t think I was going to make it,” she said. “There are so many other great people on the safety patrol.”

To be considered as Safety Patroller of the Year, students must be nominated and write a 500-word essay on what being a safety patroller means to them. They are observed working their duty station by AAA staff and are interviewed.

“She’s a really good patroller,” said Katharine Beachboard, community educator for AAA of Tidewater Virginia. “We choose the most exceptional patroller out of the group. Not only does she know her job, but the kids look up to her.”

Beachboard added that Aliyyah’s application and interview shone above the rest.

“With the interview questions, she hit them all on the spot,” Beachboard said.

When Aliyyah is not acting as a safety patroller or working hard to be a successful student, she enjoys helping out at her cousin’s daycare, participating in Odyssey of the Mind, reading, singing in the choir and praise dancing at church.

In the future, she hopes to be in academic clubs in high school, and she also hopes to become either a professor or a teacher so she can help kids.

“I love to work with little kids,” she said. “I want to help kids become better people.”