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Students chalk up messages of thanks
RUMFORD -- On a cool, crisp fall morning Friday, youngsters from grades K-5 at Rumford Elementary School, armed with colored chalk, wrote thank you messages and drew pictures along the entire length of a new sidewalk going to their school.
Among the messages was "Thank you Ms. Soucy and the highway crew for our sidewalk." Others wrote "I love our sidewalk" and more with drawings and messages that could not be easily decifered as they were in some kind of kids' code.
A couple of weeks ago, Rumford Public Works completed some 1,800 feet of sidewalk around three sides of the old Stephens High School on Essex and Oxford avenues and York Street, thanks to an $80,000 Safe Roads to School federal grant. The town was not required to provide any kind of a match to get the grant.
Laurie Soucy, Regional School Unit 10's health coordinator, wrote the grant three years ago on behalf of the town because of a safety concern, particularly during the winter months, as children walking and from school in that area had to walk in the street. Further, streets near the school are always filled with vehicles when school lets out for the day.
Soucy said she used her contacts with the Healthy Maine Partnership in writing the grant. Her daughter attends the school.
The students, wearing stickers that said "walk," not only chalked the sidewalk, but were also reminded about walking safety, including looking both ways before using the crosswalk.
Also walking with the students was Sgt. Doug Maifeld of the Rumford Police Department, who used this as an opportunity to talk to with them about Halloween safety if they went out at night to Trick or Treat.
These first graders were among the Rumford Elementary School students who took a safety walk over the new sidewalks leading to the school, as well as write thank yous in colored chalk over the entire length of the 1,800-foot sidewalk. From left are Chloe Godbois, Paige Dyke, Kylie Hutchinson, Alivia Every and Stormie Frost. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)
Walking on the sidewalks last Friday was also an opportunity for teachers and a police officer to teach students at Rumford Elementary School about sidewalk safety as well as being safe foe Halloween. (Times photo by Bruce Farrin)