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Another year of safe school crossings celebrated

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As the school year winds down, so does the need for AMA School Safety Patrollers. The 350 students that took part in the program this year were thanked for their time with a day of fun, games, and pizza at Grande Prairie Regional College Wednesday.

The grade five students wear reflective vests and hold stop signs to alert drivers when their peers are crossing the street. Local AMA School Safety Patrol Coordinator Shelley Biendarra says what they do is essential to school safety.

“It’s very important. I was at a school assessing and a young parent came up to me and she goes, ‘you know, these patrollers are doing such a fantastic job, I don’t even worry about my little five year old crossing the road.”

This is the AMA School Safety Patrol’s 80th year, and in that time there have been no serious injuries or fatalities at a patrolled crosswalk.

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Biendarra tours schools in the Grande Prairie area near the end of the school year, speaking to grade four students about the program. Those interested in taking part can then sign up in the fall.

“I always like to say, ‘today you’re patrollers; tomorrow you’re leaders.’ It’s good for self-worth and they take pride in being a patroller.”

There are also some rewards throughout the year, including pizza from Pizza Hut, and Grande Prairie Storm and GPRC Wolves tickets. The year-end party was also put on thanks to the Wolves, Be Fit for Life, Bellyfit, Erin Post, DANCEPL3Y, A.P.E., City and County Enforcement Services, RCMP, and Safe Communities, as well as several AMA employees and volunteers.

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