Discovery Elementary student Nolan Richaul named state School Safety Patroller of the Year – Grand Forks Herald | #schoolsaftey

GRAND FORKS – Wearing a neon-yellow vest, labeled “School Safety Patrol” in black, Nolan Richaul stood on the south side of Discovery Elementary School on Thursday, holding a flag signaling drivers to stop for the students and others entering the crosswalk between the school and parking lot.

Richaul, a fifth-grader at Discovery, has been selected as the North Dakota AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year. One deserving patrol member in each state wins the annual award.

The Patroller of the Year award recognizes safety patrollers who best exemplify leadership qualities, good citizenship and school involvement, and perform their duties effectively and responsibly with incident.

Nominated by Principal Ali Parkinson and Sarah Voss, school counselor, Richaul also wrote an essay as part of the nomination package.

“Being a member of the AAA Safety Patrol has helped me to learn more about my passions,” he wrote in his essay. “It has helped me build relationships and friendships. It has helped me become a better leader in my school and community.”

Gene LaDoucer, regional director of public affairs for AAA-The Auto Club Group, presented Richaul with a plaque and $200 gift card during a school assembly Wednesday, May 31.

The son of Kim Bailey and Chad Richaul of Grand Forks, Nolan, 11, has attended Discovery since he was in kindergarten. He’s been a safety patrol volunteer for the past year; he also serves on the Student Council.

When asked why he wanted to be a safety patroller, Nolan said, “I always looked up to the safety patrollers, and I like to help.”

What he enjoys most about his role is “I get to help and make sure students are all safe,” he said. The job is not scary, “unless a kid is not paying attention or a car is not paying attention.”

He feels good about receiving the award – and proud, he said.

Safety patrollers “become really confident,” said Beth Hansen, school secretary. “They sometimes have to talk with parents (who are driving through the walkway), but they’re always with an adult.”

Richaul has had to do that “once or twice, when they were coming through the crosswalk,” he said.

A member of the school staff accompanies each of the patrollers at each of the school’s four entrances, “to make sure they’re safe too,” said Voss, adviser for the 20-member patrol group.

AAA provides a training manual for school staff members to educate patrollers, she said.

“The kids really take it seriously,” Voss said. “They learn responsibility and leadership skills. It fosters their interest in leadership.”

“Nolan is very much a helper at Discovery. He helps out in the school office and lunchroom,” she said. “Anyone who needs help knows they can go to Nolan. He’s very deserving of this award.”

Other Grand Forks students who have received the award include:

Hayden Dvorak

in 2022,

Jaylee Weisser

in 2021, and

Brody Schneider

in 2020, all at Viking Elementary School, and Discovery students Alexander Haar in 2019, Eden Parkinson in 2017, and Megan Schill in 2016.

Pamela Knudson
Pamela Knudson is a features and arts/entertainment writer for the Grand Forks Herald.

She has worked for the Herald since 2011 and has covered a wide variety of topics, including the latest performances in the region and health topics.

Pamela can be reached at [email protected] or (701) 780-1107.

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