Southwestern student earns AAA safety award

Published 9:55 pm Saturday, May 19, 2012

Southwestern Elementary School student Mackenzie West will be inducted into the AAA Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

A fifth-grader from Southwestern Elementary School will be recognized for her safety smarts at the bus loop when she is inducted into the AAA Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

Mackenzie West is the only Suffolk student to have been selected for the honor; she is among 10 selected from around Hampton Roads this year.

“I think of us as a team where we are school role models, and we make sure everyone is being safe, because that’s what our job is,” West said.

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She said that keeping kids out of harm’s way around school buses can be challenging at times.

“A lot of time, kids don’t want to listen, but I just have to tell them that if they want to do something, they have to do it so they don’t get hurt or get into extra trouble,” she said.

West said she decided to do the school safety patrol, because she thought it would be fun. This is her second year at it.

“I felt it would be fun trying to make sure everyone here was doing the right thing,” she said. “There’s a lot of fun things to it.”

The 14th annual AAA Tidewater Virginia Safety Patrol Hall of Fame Awards and dinner will be held at the Lake Wright Hotel in Norfolk on June 1.

According to a press release from AAA Tidewater Virginia, the award recognizes safety patrol members for their “hard work and exceptional service.”

AAA Tidewater Virginia has sponsored the AAA School Safety Patrol for more than 80 years after it was first formed locally in Norfolk in 1930.

This year, 25 students were nominated from 19 area schools, and inductees will receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond, a framed certificate and tickets to a movie of their choice.

“I think it’s amazing,” West said. “I never thought I would be able to do something like that.”

She has some sage advice for any student thinking about doing what she does. “They need to make sure they know what’s right so they can make sure students are doing what’s right,” she said.

Her teacher, Donna Scarbel, said West is a role model for other students. “We try to keep safety in mind at Southwestern,” she said.