Student wins statewide honor

Sydney Hansen is a little girl with a lot of accomplishments. Sydney, who lives with her family in Midland and just finished fifth grade at Bethel Elementary School, was recently named the AAA of the Carolinas Safety Patroller of the Year for the state of North Carolina.

At Bethel Elementary, the safety patrol has a wide range of duties. According to Carrie Whitley, who is the safety patrol adviser and who nominated Sydney for the award, these students are responsible for raising and lowering the flags at school each day, for greeting their fellow students as they arrive, and reminding them of school rules when needed. They also help teachers carry supplies and empty recycling bins. Some of them check the computer lab to make sure things are in place. Others assist with breakfast in the cafeteria, especially helping the younger students with their meals.

The safety patrol students are usually the first ones to arrive each day, the last ones who make it to their classrooms in the morning, and are available throughout the day to help as needed.

Sydney served as a part of the safety patrol in both the fourth and fifth grades. She told me she really liked the good feeling she got from helping other people and being there when she was needed. But she and her family were definitely surprised to learn that Sydney was selected as Safety Patroller of the Year for the entire state.

Robin Hansen, Sydney's mother, said she didn't even know Whitley had nominated Sydney until she got the phone call telling her that Sydney had won. Robin and her husband, Stuart, are as proud of Sydney as parents can be.

While she's happy to discuss Sydney's good grades and awards, she seems most proud of the fact that Sydney accepts these honors with grace and humility, and continues to work hard on each new challenge that comes her way.

As AAA of the Carolinas Safety Patroller of the Year, Sydney attended and was recognized at center court at a Charlotte Bobcats game. She also received a two-night hotel stay, a trophy, and a die-cast race car, which she immediately offered to her little brother. Robin Hansen says the entire family enjoyed Sydney's prizes, making her achievement a true family celebration.

Sydney says the best part of winning was seeing the Bobcats play, her first live game. She'll miss being on safety patrol when she starts middle school in August, but she looks forward to playing school sports and being involved in groups like the chess club and the Math 24 competition.

I suspect there will be more well-deserved honors heading Sydney's way in the future, but the memory of this achievement will last a very long time.

Freelance writer Marcia Morris lives in Georgeville and would like to hear from you. E-mail her at