Crossing guard program up and running in McLouth
by Rick Nichols
Children being children, they don’t always look both ways before they cross the street and often have their minds on things other than their own personal safety. Now that may not be a problem along most of the streets in McLouth, given the relatively small amount of traffic they see most of the time, but along two streets in particular, Union, which doubles as K-92 for several blocks, and Lake, which doubles as K-16 east of Union and K-16/K-92 west of Union, one lapse of concentration or error in judgment could prove to be deadly.
Having recognized the opportunity at hand, and with no small amount of assistance supplied by Chief of Police Marcus Koch and one of her teachers, Emma Jolley, a junior at McLouth High School, has organized a community crossing guard program for the benefit of pupils attending McLouth Elementary School.
The program officially started Monday, Sept. 26, and will continue to operate during the balance of the 2016-2017 school year, according to Nicole Hinrichsen, Ag Communications instructor at MHS and the adviser for the school’s Future Farmers of America chapter. The Ag Communications class, which includes both Emma and fellow junior Natalie Richardson, is in charge of the program, and the two girls are the program’s coordinators.
After presenting her idea to Hinrichsen and getting the go-ahead to proceed, Emma began recruiting other high school students to help with the program. By Sept. 22, she had lined up 18 volunteers, provided them with the necessary training in the form of a safety course and tested them to ensure that they were ready to go. Individual training also was provided as needed.
Emma made Koch aware of her plans early on and has received some valuable input from him along the way and some important information of a legal nature as well. The Police Department also supplied the Ag Communications class with the stop paddles students are using to temporarily control the flow of traffic along Union. USD 342 furnished the safety vests the boys and girls are wearing.
Every day school is in session, between roughly 3:30 to 3:45 p.m., a high school student will be positioned on the northwest corner of Union and Lucy streets to assist children in crossing Union as they head for home.
Emma has also recruited her mother, Melissa, and Dave Wahl to be after-school crossing guards at either of the two designated school crossings along Lake. One of those crossings is located at the intersection of Lake and Summit streets, Summit being the street directly in front of the school complex, the other at the intersection of Lake and Franklin streets.
Any adult also interested in becoming a crossing guard is encouraged to call the high school at 913-796-6122.
While waiting for her daughter and Hinrichsen to join her at the intersection of Union and Lucy streets last Thursday afternoon, Jolley was quick to credit Koch and Hinrichsen for the role they had played in getting the program off the ground. “The chief and Nicole have been very helpful,” she told the paper as MHS junior Mable Mestagh manned her post nearby, ready to escort children across Union.
Koch had nothing but praise for Emma. “I think what she’s done is commendable,” he said.
Ditto for Hinrichsen. “I am always impressed when a student comes to me with ideas,” she told the paper Friday in an email. “Emma’s commitment and initiative revolving around the crosswalk program speak volumes of her leadership ability. FFA hopes to continue this program even after Emma and Natalie have graduated.”
The president of MHS’s FFA chapter, Emma is the daughter of Nathan and Melissa Jolley. Nathan is a member of the USD 342 Board of Education.
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