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As a safety patroller, this girl's a natural

Lindsay Hice is only 10, but she takes her job on the school's safety patrol team very seriously.

By LOGAN NEILL
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 12, 2002


BROOKSVILLE -- Every school day, Lindsay Hice's job is to watch out for those who can't watch for themselves.

As a member of the Brooksville Elementary safety patrol team, she has the unenviable task of keeping prekindergarteners out of harm's way as they hustle off and onto their school buses.

But it's a job the 10-year-old has come to greatly enjoy.

"All of them are very good little kids, but they're so young and you never know what could happen," said Lindsay on a recent morning. "That's why I have to be extra careful to make sure they're safe."

At her post at the school's bus circle, the fifth-grade honor roll student monitors the morning and afternoon arrival and departure of about two dozen preschoolers ages 3 to 5. And while Lindsay tends to downplay her daily role, others in the school have made special note of her sense of responsibility.

"I've watched her in the mornings and those preschoolers really listen to her," assistant principal Betty Draper said. "I don't think we could have picked anyone better for that job. She's wonderful with those kids."

Lindsay has gotten good practice in dealing with the younger set. At home, she always looks after her younger siblings. Add to that the fact that she has a special rapport with toddler-age children, and it's easy to see why she was so highly recommended for her safety patrol position.

"I guess I just know how to talk to little kids the right way," Lindsay said. "Going to school for the first time is kind of scary for them, so you have talk to them so that they will listen and not be afraid of you."

Lindsay is also pretty good at child psychology. On a recent morning she was called upon to soothe a 4-year-old who burst into tears once his older sister went inside the school. Fortunately, Lindsay found that a hug and a piece of candy seemed to do the trick. Within minutes her new friend was all smiles again.

"That's why I like being on the safety patrol," Lindsay said. "I like doing things that help people and maybe make them feel good, too."

* * *

Lindsay Hice, age 10, lives in Brooksville

Parents: Perry and Christina Hice

Favorite subject: physical education

Hobbies: swimming, outdoor activities

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