Auburn 5th-grader enters School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame

“Quinn is a model student and citizen.”

Auburn has things to boast about.

Great schools, beautiful parks.

And now, add to the list Quinn Kortman of Lakeland Hills Elementary, Auburn’s own homegrown Hall of Famer, inducted by the AAA of Washington State into its School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame as of June 10, 2024.

In its 32nd year, the Hall of Fame honored Kortman among a class of 10 outstanding school safety patrollers throughout the state for their “commitment to traffic safety, helping fellow students and showing exceptional leadership skills.”

Means a lot to the fifth-grader.

“Serving on my school safety patrol is important to me because I can help my classmates and neighbors cross the street safely so they can feel safe. Our school does not have buses that can transport kids to our school and they have to walk. This is why I’m here for the crosswalk,” said Kortman.

“Quinn is a model student and citizen,” said Christine Lee, an advisor at Lakeland Hills.

“She is kind and helpful to other students and teachers, leads by example, and is always the best that she can be,” Lee said, calling the girl “a swift and diligent learner who is always alert and cautious while serving on patrol.”

These are qualities that Kortman needs to handle a challenging environment, Lee said.

“We are considered a ‘walking’ school, with three busy corners and combinations of stop lights and signs. Getting everyone crossed and to school and back home can be hectic and challenging. Quinn is not afraid to speak up to a student or parent to make sure they are crossing safely with us and following the rules,” said Lee.

Rouding out the rest of the 2024 School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame inductees:

Philippa Bartsch, Echo Lake Elementary, Shoreline; Kellen Caldelaria, Balboa Elementary, Spokane; Wolf Geide, Queen Anne Elementary, Seattle; Haven Hepner, Grant Elementary, East Wenatchee; Karijalena Johnstone, Oak Harbor Intermediate, Oak Harbor; Aubrie Kartchner, Marcus Whitman Elementary, Richland; Elide Ortiz-Padilla, Enterprise Elementary, Federal Way; Matty Rogers, Moran Prairie Elementary, Spokane; and Brielle Schaber, Indian Trail Elementary, Spokane.

AAA’s Washington School Safety Patrol program seeks fourth- through eighth-graders to be volunteer crossing guards. Their role is crucial in ensuring the safety of their peers during their daily commute to and from school. Students can develop essential skills such as responsibility, leadership, and community service by participating in the program. In 2023, more than 22,000 students across 750 schools in Washington participated in the statewide program.

In 1922, Washington joined the AAA School Safety Patrol Program with the first squad of student crossing guards at John Muir Elementary in Seattle. By the decade’s end, the program had expanded to hundreds of communities along the Interstate 5 corridor and east over the Cascades to Wenatchee and Yakima. Today, more than 750 schools around Washington participate in the AAA School Safety Patrol.

“These ten students embody what it means to be an outstanding school safety patroller and we are honored to recognize their dedication to keeping classmates and communities safe,” said Heather Snavely, CEO of AAA Washington. “AAA Washington’s School Safety Patrol Program is one small way to cultivate values like responsibility, hard work, and citizenship that will help shape our future leaders.”

In 1949, AAA started recognizing patrollers who saved a life while on duty. Of the 441 patrollers awarded the AAA Lifesaving Medal, eight came from Washington — most recently in 2020. In 1992, AAA Washington launched its patroller recognition program. Every year, a panel of judges from AAA, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Information, the Evergreen Safety Council, and the regional office of the National Highway Transportation Administration selects 10 patrollers for induction into its School Safety Patrol Hall of Fame. Visit the Hall of Fame webpage and learn how the 2024 class earned this honor.

In addition to promoting traffic safety, the AAA School Safety Patrol has given many students a first step toward a career in public service and leadership. The program boasts an impressive alum list that includes three former presidents, astronauts, Olympic athletes, Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and AAA Washington CEO Heather Snavely, who served as a school safety patrol leader in sixth grade.