As a young boy, I can clearly recall the eager anticipation I felt looking forward to the day when I would reach middle school and might be selected to wear the shield and belt. This particular shield wasn’t just any badge and its neon colored sash appeared to possess the unique ability to be spotted from miles away. As a student at Immaculate Conception School in Towson, I viewed the special group of older students who wore the badge and belt as mighty Redwoods who seemed to stand tall as they protected the forest of their fellow students. Hoping that one day I too would be able to wear the shield, I was thrilled for the day when I was chosen to serve as a member of our Safety Patrol and would be given my own shield and belt to wear. Looking back to those formative years, much of what I learned about the important role of protecting and serving one’s community, as well as understanding a personal respect for the laws of our society, came from being a member of my own school’s Safety Patrol team.
On Friday, September 20, our weekly mass was followed by our second annual Safety Patrol Pledge Induction Ceremony. On this memorable day, Officers Keith Boone and Al Barbour from the Baltimore County Police Department swore in our Safety Patrol members as the student leaders proudly recited the following oath:
I will strive to serve as a positive example for those around me.
I will not act in a reckless manner or allow ill feelings or friendships to influence my decisions.
I will serve in a courteous manner at all times and I will not be bossy or boastful.
I will be an example to others and I will obey the rules whether I am wearing my safety belt and badge or not.
I am representing myself, my family and St. Agnes School and will honor my oath.
Following the recitation of this oath, our Safety Patrol members then signed their pledge statement and received a special pin and blessing from Fr. Isaac. Conducting such a ceremony in front of the entire student body and their family members is important. It underscores to all in attendance that a commitment to protect is a truly an act of service. And service grounded by love represents a central belief of who we are as a school.
At St. Agnes, the virtues of our faith teach us to serve. And in being part of our Safety Patrol, our students learn the value of servant leadership as they develop an awareness for safety and safe actions, the importance of teamwork, taking pride in our school and being engaged in active citizenship as they establish a deep respect for law enforcement. It is with these principles in mind that the members of our Safety Patrol signed their pledge as a promise of their commitment to serve, lead and “MODEL the Way”.
I would like to extend my appreciation to our Safety Patrol advisor, Mrs. Mary Marks, along with Fr. Isaac and Officers Keith Boone and Al Barbour for their collective support in making this event such a special occasion.