Jaylee Weisser, a fifth-grader at Viking Elementary School in Grand Forks, has been selected as the 2020-21 North Dakota AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year.

The Patroller of the Year award recognizes safety patrollers who best exemplify leadership qualities and perform their duties effectively and responsibly without incident. The patrollers control pedestrian and vehicular traffic near schools to make sure students safely cross streets.

Weisser is the second Viking Elementary student to win the award. Brody Schneider, son of Grand Forks County Sheriff Andy Schneider, won it last year. Sheriff Schneider was on hand as children left Viking on the last day of school Thursday, May 27, and visited briefly with Weisser.

Nominees submit an essay describing their feelings about their patrol experience. Essays are judged on content, understanding of traffic safety, sincerity and organization of ideas.

“I thought a role model was just being a good kid and showing it to other people,” Weisser wrote in her essay. “Turns out I was wrong. Being a role model means much more than that. It’s showing up on time, not slacking off, and showing kids how to act appropriately. I want to make it safe for kids so they can have fun without getting hurt.”

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She applied to be a student leader when she was in fourth grade and, as such, received training for the Safety Patrol at Viking Elementary, which enrolls about 300 students in grades K-5. She applied to be a student leader “because I really liked what they did,” she said.

This past school year, she has enjoyed being a safety patroller, because “I really like to help kids, and help them grow and be safe,” she said.

The patrollers also walk the school’s halls in the morning and “make sure kids are where they’re supposed to be,” she said. They also are involved in Kindness Week and the Kindergarten Roundup program at the school.

Kiya Knable, a school counselor and student leader adviser at Viking, said, “Jaylee displays a great passion and devotion to helping others. She is a great example of what a Viking student leader should be and, furthermore, a wonderful example of an exemplary person.

“All of us here at Viking are so incredibly proud of all her accomplishments.”

At a graduation event for fifth-graders Tuesday, May 25, at Viking, Jaylee received special recognition for the honor and was presented with a plaque. As an award winner, she also received a $200 gift card. She doesn’t know how she’ll spend the money, she said.

Viking Elementary will receive a $100 credit to improve safety patrol gear, according to the announcement by the school district.

Jaylee, 11, the daughter of Erica and Anthony Weisser, is “a little sad” about leaving Viking. “I like seeing the little kids and stuff,” she said. She’s headed to South Middle School next fall.

The AAA School Safety Patrol Program, which began in 1920, includes more than 679,000 patrollers in 35,000 U.S. schools. The AAA organization introduced the Patroller of the Year awards in 2002.