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AAA Washington School Safety Patrol: Kids Who Make a Difference

Celebrating the crossing guards working to keep schools safe 

Were you a safety patrol kid? Do you remember the sense of pride in wearing an iconic yellow vest and holding out an orange flag?  

Chances are, if you were a crossing guard, the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol was a meaningful part of your childhood. Possibly, it was your first leadership experience as well as a first look at how volunteers can make a positive difference. And if you’re a parent of a current or past member of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol, you’ll know that the program brings out the best in everyone, offering growth opportunities for young leaders. 

From the archives, members of the School Safety Patrol with their teachers during the early days of the program in Washington state.
From the archives, members of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol with their teachers during the early days of the program in Washington state. Photo: AAA

For 102 years, the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol has been a constant and reassuring presence in schools across Washington, with kids helping their friends and neighbors walk to and from school. In 2022, 11,250 students across 750 schools in Washington volunteered as crossing guards and made a significant impact in their school communities. In schools nationwide, more than 675,000 students volunteer as crossing guards at close to 35,000 schools.

From the archives, the AAA School Safety Patrol welcomes students back to school at Seattle's Greenlake Elementary School.
From the archives, the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol welcomes students back to school at Seattle’s Greenlake Elementary School. Photo: AAA

Whether they are helping other children cross the street or ensuring that pedestrians have the right of way in the parking lot, safety patrollers give school communities an extra sense of safety. With their familiar yellow vests, patrollers are out in all weather, including dreary Western Washington mornings, and snowy Eastern Washington afternoons.

AAA Washington, which proudly sponsors and supports the program, celebrates the accomplishments of these young community leaders who are making a difference. By showing up before and after school, they’re developing leadership skills while making it fun — and safe — to walk to and from school. 

From the AAA archives, for more than 100 years, school crossing guards have been hard at work keeping their fellow students safe.
From the AAA archives, for more than 100 years, school crossing guards have been hard at work keeping their fellow students safe. Photo: AAA

AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame 

In 1949, AAA established the AAA Lifesaving Medal to recognize patrollers who save a life while on duty. Of the 441 patrollers receiving the award to date, eight have come from Washington — most recently in 2020. 

In 1992, AAA Washington launched its own patroller recognition program, the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame. As a long-standing tradition, 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 chooses ten top patrollers to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Nominations require input from both the patroller and their advisor, who is a member of their school’s teaching staff.

Today, AAA Washington is proud to honor the newest inductees into the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

Members of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol at the first Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.
Members of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol at Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. Photo: AAA Archives

2023 AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame Inductees 

Ivory Ware, Forest View Elementary School, Everett  

“I’ve been able to watch her confidence blossom into a model student to all kids at Forest View and one the staff can count on to do the right thing at all times,” said advisor Andrea Rosen. “Ivory can be observed telling her fifth grade peers to walk in the hall along with supporting her classmates with work they might not understand.” 

Cesar Cardoso, Enterprise Elementary School, Federal Way 

“Cesar ensures the safety of himself and other members in our school community by having people wait behind the school safety flag,” said advisor Kim Cubbage. “When faced with a situation where the intent of the driver is unclear, Cesar directs students back on the curb to let the car pass, then safely crosses the students.” 

Ella Chau, Glenridge Elementary School, Kent 

“Ella works well with any partner to make sure students have a safe place to cross when there is a break in traffic,” said advisor Lorena Long. “She stays focused on her patrol duties while on shift so she can help our students and family stay safe as they approach and cross driveways and streets.” 

Charlianne Eller, Oak Harbor Intermediate School, Oak Harbor 

“Charli has gone far above and beyond the call of duty while serving on Safety Patrol by improving the safety of her teammates,” said advisor Kris Bishop. “She introduced a new routine to effectively and safely place her team members in their duty position.” 

Alec Watson, White Bluffs Elementary School, Richland 

“Alec knows that he has a job to do and is confident in his ability to carry it out,” said advisor Adam Whittier. “Most importantly, he understands the real-life risks involved when pedestrians and vehicles meet in a busy intersection, and he acts accordingly.” 

Piper, Coe Elementary School, Seattle  

“Piper is a role model throughout the school,” said advisor Maria Volk. “She can be trusted to help new patrols learn the ropes and in positions during patrol that have less adult supervision.” 

Elliana Regan, Central Elementary School, Sedro-Wooley 

“Ellie excels at being a role model not only for patrollers but for all students at Central,” said advisor Kim Ruiz. “She will partner with a new patroller if they are nervous and will walk as a team until they are comfortable.”

Winter Lanser, Echo Lake Elementary School, Shoreline 

“Winter is constantly teaching the patrols to hold their flags properly, reminding them to stay alert, and to take their jobs seriously,” said advisor Mark Owen. “There is nothing like a leader who leads by example and shows a caring heart. Winter will always be in my Hall of Fame.”

Olivia Russell, Grant Elementary School, Spokane  

“Olivia is always watching out for others during patrol and during school,” said advisor Kori Klause. “She has never been afraid to tell me when other students and patrollers are not being safe during patrol and speaks up to let them know.”   

Sally Briggs, Moran Prairie Elementary School, Spokane 

“Sally has been a safety patrol volunteer for two years at Moran Prairie and has proven to be one of the most reliable and responsible to date,” said advisor Shelby McVay. “She approaches every day with a smile for everyone and with a purpose to keep students safe and make others happy.” 

Members of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol participate in Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day.
Members of the AAA Washington School Safety Patrol participate in Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. Photo: AAA

2023 AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year

AAA Washington is also proud to honor the 2023 AAA Washington School Safety Patrol Advisor of the Year: Andrea Rosen, of Forest View Elementary School in Everett, who was instrumental in the organization of the Everett School District’s participation in the inaugural year of the Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day. 

Congratulations to all 2023 honorees and thank you for your commitment to school and traffic safety!

To learn more about how AAA Washington can support a School Safety Patrol program in your community, click here. To view the AAA School Safety Patrol Operations Manual, as well as training videos, click here.

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