HAMPSTEAD, Md. - Thomas Spence may look like your average fifth grader, but before he hits the classroom he is outside working as a safety patroller. He keeps students safe and passes out stars for good behavior.
"They usually want to get off the bus real quickly and run, but I don't let that happen," said Thomas Spence, Safety Patroller at Hampstead Elementary School in Carroll County.
This 11-year-old wants to be a Police Officer when he grows up and he's well on his way.
"I always wanted to make sure everyone was safe. I want to make sure they are not breaking the rules. A Police Officer seems like a really cool job," said Spence.
Thomas is one of 16 students in the Hampstead Elementary School Safety Patrol Program. Each morning Thomas and other patrollers keep watch.
"We felt like he was a good leader. He makes good decisions and even as fifth graders get ready for middle school and get a little nervous, he was doing a wonderful job at his post," said Stephanie O'Neal, Health Teacher at Hampstead Elementary School.
Thomas is so good at his post that he and another student were selected as the top Safety Patrollers of Carroll County.
AAA Mid Atlantic teams up with area schools for the Safety Patroller Program.
"It's all about a peer leadership program that promotes safety," said Myra Wieman with AAA Mid Atlantic Foundation.
Thomas has such a good attitude that you would never know he's been through tragedy. His family lost everything when their house burned down, but Thomas has never complained. His mother says he has always had a good work ethic.
"He has seen me as a single mother working two jobs, making sure our home is taken care of. He's in lots of activities. He's always on time and always making sure we are doing the right thing," said Michelle Devaux, Thomas' mother.
There are 30,000 Safety Patrollers in Maryland and 460,000 nationwide.
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