Blanca Velasquez, a fifth-grader at Tyler Heights Elementary School in Annapolis, has been named Anne Arundel County Public Schools Outstanding School Safety Patroller of the Year.
Sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education of the American Automobile Association (AAA), the award includes a
personalized plaque displaying a gold safety patrol badge, a $150 savings bond, and recognition at a special luncheon.
“Blanca is an amazing student leader,” fifth-grade teacher Molly Reed wrote in her nomination of Blanca. “She represents our classroom, the fifth grade, and the school to volunteers, parents, and peers. She is always the first student to offer to help out and sets an example for others.”
Blanca, who is also the school’s Student Council president, speaks English and Spanish fluently, a skill that is often put to use at Tyler Heights, whose population is 65 percent Hispanic.
“On the safety patrol, she has been invaluable in assisting our Spanish-speaking parents when they enter the building,” Reed wrote. “She has ALSO been instrumental in training new Safety Patrol members.”
The AAA School Safety Patrol program was established in 1920, and more than 560,000 children currently participate in the program nationwide. Blanca is one of about 100 recipients representing the 91,000 patrollers throughout the AAA mid-Atlantic region. Criteria for the award includes: leadership, sound academics, promptness, neatness, and industriousness while protecting their fellow students as they travel to and from school.
Blanca’s dedication and hard work also have had a profound impact on other students. “Blanca is a perfect captain…” one fellow student wrote. “Under that badge is a good friend that knows about friendship. She gets along well with everybody.”
In addition to her academic endeavors, Blanca is a member of the school’s orchestra and the SELF group, which aims to empower girls.
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