Clinton students earn rewarding lunch with city, safety officials

Feb 7 2013 - 7:37am

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Local school children have lunch with the Mayor of Clinton, police officers and firefighters Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Clinton, Utah. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Firefighter paramedic Jason Hastings watches as local school children exit the ambulance for lunch with the Mayor of Clinton, police officers and firefighters Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Clinton, Utah. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Local school children have lunch with the Mayor of Clinton, police officers and firefighters Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Clinton, Utah. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)
Firefighter paramedic Jason Hastings watches as local school children exit the ambulance for lunch with the Mayor of Clinton, police officers and firefighters Wednesday, February 6, 2013 in Clinton, Utah. (NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner)

CLINTON -- As 30 important guests pulled into the parking lot of the Clinton Fire Department on Tuesday, firefighters and police officers announced their arrival with lights flashing and sirens blaring.

The elementary school-aged guests arrived in police cars, ambulances and fire trucks, all part of Clinton city's monthly "Lunch with the Mayor and Chiefs" day.

"It was awesome," said Breann Miles, a Parkside Elementary School third-grader, about her short ride from her school.

Even though her school is across the street from the fire station, she rode with three other students in a police car.

Breann said she was chosen by her teacher to attend the luncheon because she had improved academically.

Trenton Beasley, a Sunset Elementary sixth-grader, also rode to the luncheon in a police car.

"It was fun switching the siren and lights on," said Trenton, who was selected because of his good social skills.

For almost 25 years the Clinton mayor, firefighters and police officers have hosted lunch for outstanding elementary school students, said Police Chief Bill Chilson. Students have been selected based on criteria set by each individual school. That criteria could be academics, social behavior or both.

In the beginning only two schools were involved, and the food was donated by local restaurants.

Now five schools -- Clinton, West Clinton, Parkside, Fremont and Sunset -- participate.

The Sunset-based schools are included because their boundaries include students who live in Clinton, Chilson said. The city and the schools contribute funds for the luncheon.

Students sit down with their principals in the training room at the fire station to eat pizza, drink soda and munch on Rice Krispie treats, while they chat one-on-one with firefighters and police officers.

"I like to interact with the kids and get to meet them on their own turf, at the school," said Firefighter Chris Winter.

Clinton Elementary Principal Chris Laypath said, "It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our students."

Laypath, who has been at Clinton Elementary for the past eight years, said he is so impressed with the program that if he gets transferred to another school in the future in Davis School District, he will recommend it to city officials.

When the students finished eating, Chilson and Mayor Mitch Adams did a presentation on peer pressure and how it can affect choices.

Adams attempted to convince Chilson he would not get hurt if he put his finger in a set mouse trap.

"Will it hurt me?" Chilson asked.

"I'm absolutely sure it won't hurt one bit," Adams said.

After a few more minutes of coaxing, Chilson put his finger on the set mouse trap and it snapped.

"You're my friend, and you lied to me big time," Chilson said as he waved his hand in pain.

Adams then went on to tell the students there will be times when friends will try to convince them to do something they know is wrong and they should stick to their convictions.

He also told them they should not try to convince their friends to do something -- stealing, cheating or bullying -- that they know is wrong.

Chilson talked to the students about staying safe. He asked how many of them wore seat belts when they rode in a car. Almost every hand went up.

He then asked how many of their parents do not wear seat belts and about 10 hands popped up.

"I'm going to give you a homework assignment," Chilson said. "Next time you get in the car and you look over and your parent does not have a seat belt on, you say, 'Mom and dad, if you love me, you'd wear your seat belt, because they save lives."

Fire Chief Dave Olsen also took a few minutes to explain that fire is a tool and not a toy. He asked the students to not play with fire.

He also asked them to make sure the fire hydrants near their homes have the snow removed from on top of and around them, so the hydrants will be clear in case they are needed.

 

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