by Terry Rogers
On Tuesday, January 7, AAA presented a $1,000 scholarship check to Zoe Layton, a student at Lulu M. Ross Elementary School and member of the Safety Patrol. Layton won the scholarship for an essay she submitted describing what it would be like to be a Safety Patrol member 100 years from now. In addition, Ross was presented a $500 check to use for the Safety Patrol program at the school.
“More than 100 years ago, AAA began not long after cars were invented,” Cathy Rossi, Vice-President of Public and Government Affairs for AAA, explained. “A few men got together and created an automobile club that would help people whose cars broke down on the side of the road. That happened a lot more often in those days than it does now. Because there can be dangers to people who are stranded on the side of the road, AAA also began taking steps to keep people safe which is how the Safety Patrol came about.”
The Safety Patrol began in 1920 and has spread to more than 30 countries. Safety Patrollers have gone on to become gold medalists, Supreme Court justices and even the President of the United States. Former Vice-President Joe Biden served as a AAA Safety Patroller. The essay contest was created in honor of Delawarean William J. Miller, Jr. and his lifelong commitment to traffic safety.
“Mr. Miller lived in Dover and had a long career helping people,” Rossi said. “He just died last year at 100 years old and, in his memory, his best friend donated money to start an essay contest for students in Delaware. Students could write about what it must have been like to be a Safety Patroller 100 years ago or what it may be like 100 years in the future. We received more than 75 essays and they were all good. However, four of them were excellent. Isabella Goeke at Major George S. Welch Elementary School, Edwin Gray at Clayton Elementary School and Tyler Hudson of Forwood Elementary School will all receive $1,000 today just as Zoe will.”
After receiving her check, Layton read her essay to the students, teachers and administrators gathered for the assembly.
“The Safety Patrol allows students to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of others,” Layton’s essay read. “I believe that in 100 years, Ross will look much different than it does today. When the Safety Patroller leaves their home, they will step onto hoverboards that will actually hover. There will be invisible barriers around the school and we will have to swipe our ID badges in order to enter. Safety Patrollers will get early access to school and we will have special glasses that will identify kids who may be problems. There will be many different types of technology available to the Safety Patrol members in order to help keep all of us safe.”
Certificates were also presented to students who entered the essay contest at Ross.
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