Oak Harbor sixth-grader successfully keeps kids safe

Kylie Hawkins was selected for the AAA Washington’s 2022 School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame.

Kylie Hawkins, a 6th grade student at Oak Harbor Intermediate School, was selected to be inducted into the AAA Washington’s 2022 School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame for outstanding leadership and dedication to traffic safety.

Oak Harbor Intermediate’s AAA School Safety Patrol advisor, Kris Bishop, nominated Hawkins for the award. Every year, ten students from ten different elementary schools all across the state of Washington are selected to be in the Hall of Fame. At her school, Hawkins helps students safely cross the street at crosswalks.

“The job seems to fit her like a glove,” Bishop said in a press release. “Kylie has the natural ability to judge a safety gap before stepping up to cross students. She doesn’t falter in checking traffic in all directions before going into the street.”

Bishop spoke of an incident where she had to take control of a fight that was happening between two students. Hawkins was still able to safely lead the other students across the street, even while being taunted by one student who wanted to cross when it was unsafe.

“She takes safety very seriously and has made sure to teach her young brother Hayden the ins and outs of crossings safety,” wrote Hawkins’ mother, Ashley Hawkins, in an email.

The inductees are chosen by 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. It is a “long-standing tradition,” according to the press release.

Kelly Just is the Traffic Safety Program Manager for AAA Washington and was one of the six judges who reviewed the nominations for this year’s Hall of Fame.

“Any student crossing guard program that you see in Washington is likely part of AAA School Safety Patrol,” said Just. “We have about 750 schools that participate across that state.”

Just explained that kids are taught to direct children and not vehicles, so they must learn to judge when there is a safe gap in traffic. Hawkins’ ability to do so, paired with her ability to do well in unexpected situations, really impressed Just and the other judges.

Just did not know much about the program before she started working for AAA Washington but has been impressed by all of the nominees.

“There are some really cool kids out there who are taking on big responsibilities,” said Just. “And [they] are probably going to be the leaders of tomorrow.”