Students meet ‘superheroes’

Police, firefighters, law officials pay a visit to North School

Cpl. J.R. Wince, of the West Virginia State Police, shares a conversation Tuesday with a group of fourth-graders at North Elementary School as part of Superhero Day. At left is Breanna Shaffer, and at right is Charlie Shaffer.

ELKINS — Students at North Elementary School visited Tuesday with real “superheroes” who work to protect and serve Randolph County.

Each month, the Parent Teacher Organization at North Elementary invites different visitors to have lunch with students.

“We wanted to start doing something like this because we have so many kids — not only in our school but other schools in the county — who may need someone to look up to and talk to,” said Megan Crosston, North School PTO representative.

Crosston went on to say she believes one-on-one conversations between students and first-responders are important in building trust so students will feel comfortable if they are ever in a situation where they must seek assistance from them.

“We wanted to bring these guys in so the students could sit down and say, ‘Hey, I got to have lunch with a cop today,’ or, ‘I got to have lunch with the prosecuting attorney and a firefighter,'” Crosston said.

Tucker-Randolph County Family Court Judge Lori Haynes talks Tuesday with students at North Elementary School about her day-to-day responsibilities as a judge. The visit was part of Superhero Day at the school in Elkins.

Principal Cindy Bodkin said these special visits also may include veterans or school bus drivers.

Senior Deputy M.P. Dyer, of the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office, said he thought Tuesday’s visit was a nice way for local officials to create bonds with students.

“Visiting the school gave us a great opportunity to interact with the kids, and for us to explain the jobs that we do,” Dyer said.

A group of fourth-grade students said they had a great deal of fun talking with local law enforcement officials who visited their school.

Jonathan Shank, a fourth-grader, said he got to talk to Cpl. J.R. Wince of the West Virginia State Police.

The Inter-Mountain photos by Brooke Binns During his visit for Superhero Day on Tuesday, Cpl. M.J. Sigley of the Elkins Police Department, left, jokes with Gunner Binns, right, a third-grade student at North Elementary School in Elkins.

“He talked to me about his equipment on his belt and his vest,” Shank said.

Charlie Shaffer, also a fourth-grade student, said he asked Wince about his bulletproof vest.

“I asked him about this vest and he said it’s really tough — if somebody punches it, it hurts their knuckles,” Shaffer said.

Other students were excited to learn that some of the officers who visited their school had police dogs they use in traffic stops and for search-and-rescue situations.

Bodkin said the students at her school really loved visiting with all first-responders on Tuesday.

In addition to officials with WVSP and RSCO, Elkins Fire Department, Leading Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Elkins Police Department, Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney Office, Tucker-Randolph County Family Court and the city of Elkins were represented.