As the captain of her school’s safety program, Katelin Eden is always willing to walk the extra mile when it comes to keeping her classmates safe.
“I like what I’m doing right now. It’s called the floater where I walk back and forth. I just do the thumbs up to people to know if they’re OK or if they need any help or anything," said Katelin, a 5th grader at Monroe Elementary School in Norman.
Helping is what AAA's School Safety Patrol program is all about.
These students spend their mornings and afternoons protecting student pedestrians to and from school.
“Just helping people. I just like helping people," said Monroe Elementary School 5th grader Ethan Anderson.
“I like doing this because I know kids can go safely home instead of getting in an accident,” said Katelin.
Monroe Elementary is 1 of 87 schools in Oklahoma with the worldwide program.
The School Safety Patrol program is celebrating 100 years of walking the walk, not only at crosswalks but also monitoring things like hallway congestion, all while teaching its members teamwork and responsibility.
Lt. Lee McWhorter and John Stege of the Norman Police Department were members when they were kids.
"I felt terribly proud to be part of a team, a unit who was dedicated to the safety of my friends and other students," said Stege.
“To help be involved and to try to better, to keep people safe, and do the right thing, that just always appealed to me," said McWhorter.
U.S. student pedestrian deaths have decreased by 24% in the last 10 years, and AAA credits that, in part, to the school safety program.
“One of our worst things is to respond to a collision involving a kid at a school," said Stege. "What they do helps prevent that. So how important is it? It’s one of the most important things we can do in our community. One-hundred years of this means 100 years of doing something right.”