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Auburn duo inducted to AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame

Auburn fifth-graders Lexie Smith, of Washington Elementary, and Tyler Kunz, of Gildo Rey Elementary, recently were inducted into the AAA School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame for outstanding dedication to the safety of their classmates.

Smith and Kunz were among 10 inductees honored at a May 7 ceremony prior to a Mariners-Angels game at Safeco Field. After the pre-game ceremony, patrollers and their guests enjoyed dinner and the game from a private suite. AAA presented each patroller with a plaque and a $50 gift check for their accomplishment.

Under advisor John Markwell at Washington Elementary, Smith emerged as a leader of the patrol program. Smith, the ASB president, implemented a rotating captain and flagger routine, and helped the school secure a new warning traffic light.

Kunz also remained committed to his job, even on the worst of days.

“Tyler felt horrible one week that he was sick from school and had to miss patrol," said Vicki Freelund, Kunz’s advisor at Gildo Rey. "He was completely freaked out that I wouldn’t have anybody to cover for him.

"Come to find out, Tyler was at Children’s Hospital because of an allergic reaction to medication, and he was worried about me," Freelund said. "That’s just one example of how committed and serious he is about his duty to his school."

Each year, AAA Washington and judges from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction choose 10 outstanding patrollers from among thousands in Washington to induct into shrine. The nomination process consists of essay questions the patrollers and their advisors must complete about their performance as a patroller, leader and role model. Patrollers are judged on their leadership skills, dedication to traffic safety, citizenship and contributions to their school safety patrol.

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