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Badges and Books a Blast for Bulldogs

EPSO deputy Kristina Kerl reads to MRES students Dec. 1. El Paso County Sheriff deputies rode into Meridian Ranch Elementary School Dec. 1 to read stories to students and answer questions about their work as part of the Badges and Books program.

“This is a great partnership,” said Sheehan Freeman-Todd, MRES principal. “Our students get excited about the deputies coming to spend time with them.”

Deputies read age-appropriate books to students in eighteen different K-3 classrooms over a three-hour period.

Students shared stories with the deputies too. “My dad runs red lights,” said one unnamed first-grader in LeAnn Nidiffer’s class during the question and answer portion of the visit.

“Well that’s not good!” said Albert Seto, a reserve deputy.

“My mom speeds!” yelled a girl.

“We might need to come back and read to the parents,” replied Seto with a chuckle.

“It was a great experience for students to see their role models reading to them in a classroom setting,” said Emily Shorette, first grade teacher.

While it was apparent the students enjoyed listening to the deputies read, the volume level when asking questions indicated that might have been the favorite part of the visit.

“Does your job make you tired sometimes?” asked Rylee Wieber, 6, a first-grader in Shorette’s class, of reserve deputy Boyne MacKenzie.

“You know, sometimes, after or during a really long day, we do get tired,” said MacKenzie. “But we have to keep going and working hard to keep our community safe.”

“My kids were able to see how important literacy is coming from a public figure and the importance it plays in everyday life,” said Shorette.

Rylee Wieber, 7, MRES first-grader, listens to an EPSO deputy Dec. 1.  Madi Baucom, 7, an MRES first-grader, listens to an EPSO deputy Dec. 1.  Trier Hale, 6, a MRES first-grader, smiles after another student speaks Dec. 1.  EPSO deputy Jonathan Ruiz reads to MRES students Dec. 1.

Matt Meister