Physicians, fire fighters, TXDOT education instructors and Winters elementary teamed up together to put on the first ever Safety Day for the 270 students at the elementary school. Principal Kari Calcote said that the day was a success in all aspects and that they will do it again next year, “Next year we will have another event like this. It’s going to become an annual event at the school and we hope it grows bigger and better every year. Everyone really pitched in to make this a success.” Planning for the event started back in September and Calcote was the catalyst that brought it all together.
It all began with the National Honor Society students; “They wanted to bring in a group to get helmets for the students. It just kind of grew from there,” Calcote added.
The day was set up with stations in different areas inside and outside of the school. In the front parking lot the Winters Volunteer Fire Department had an ambulance on hand and showed the kids the gear that fire fighters wear. The fire fighters discussed fire safety with the children and taught them about 911 and gave them other safety tips. The children were at each station for about an hour, which significantly helped with holding their attention the full time. One student exclaimed as she walked away with a classmate, “They had that saw that can cut a car in half!”
TXDOT had a demonstration with a mockup pickup cab which was used to demonstrate what happens to people when they don’t wear their seatbelts and have a collision. One of the children spoke up and said, “I feel sorry for the people that didn’t wear their seatbelts.” TXDOT also had a training aid set up to show each kid whether they needed to be in a car seat or booster seat in their vehicles. Many of the children were surprised that they needed to be in a seat when riding in vehicles as some thought that they were too big to need a booster seat.
Children received a bicycle helmet that was fitted to them by some of the varsity football players. At one presentation a player told the kids, “We wear our helmets when we play football so you need to wear your helmet when you’re riding your bicycle or skateboard.” Several bicycles were given out through a drawing with many of the bikes being donated by parents.”
Head Start was even involved with children as young as 3 years old each receiving a helmet. The school’s FCCLA chapter made lunch for everyone. FCCLA is “Family, Career and Community Leaders of America that is a national Career and Technical Student Organization that provides personal growth, leadership development, and career preparation opportunities for students in Family and Consumer Sciences education.”
Students Temperance Patton, Cassidy Goking and Briley Garza told me that they learned a lot about 911, “They told us that we needed to give them our name and address and what the problem is. It’s really important to know where you are.”
One of the primary groups taking part in the event was the Texas Medical Association Alliance. The alliance bought 275 helmets priced at $22 each. Doctor Mark McKinnon of Winters and Doctor Brad Bundrant of Ballinger helped bring it all together and get the helmets for the children. Also on hand helping out McKinnon was Texas A&M medical school student Julie England.
Winters athletic director and head football coach Matt McCarty oversaw the football players fitting helmets to the children as he himself fitted helmets. The children were also given a sack containing safety information.
It was apparent throughout the day that making the event successful was a true team effort. The Safety Day was very well organized and the flow was smooth and without any hiccups. There was a schedule that each teacher and volunteer had so that they all worked in concert and were prepared throughout the day. All of the organizations involved presented important information in a way that was easy for the children to understand and kept their attention. That is not always an easy task with the age difference of the children ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade.
The effort and coordination required to pull this off and make it a success bodes well for future safety days at the school. Everyone involved did a commendable job in making the day a triumph for the students, faculty and volunteers.