Mantua – At a school-wide assembly last Friday afternoon, staff and students at the Crestwood Middle School in Mantua gathered to learn the results of the school’s Kindness Challenge. The event, sponsored by CMS’s Rachel’s Challenge student organization, encouraged both CMS and Crestwood Intermediate students to document random acts of kindness to each other by noting them on slips of paper. Throughout the week, these paper strips were linked with other strips, creating a tangible symbol of how each simple act, when combined with others, can make a big impact. In addition, students at both schools were able to purchase links for a dollar, raising funds to send Girl Scout cookies to troops stationed overseas. As a result, the Challenge raised enough funds to send three cases of cookies to troops, spreading kindness overseas, as well.
After learning that the Middle School won the school Challenge, students were asked to participate in a guessing game. They were given a series of clues, like: “He always comes to school with a smile on his face,” and “He has really short hair.” Teachers and students alike shouted out their guesses as the clues continued, until the final clue gave it away, “Parents say he makes them feel safe that he’s here.”
As the crowd cheered, a surprised Student Resource Officer Joe Urso was asked to come forward to accept an award for his work at CMS since the 2013 school year. Clearly touched by this outpouring of support, he remarked, “Seeing your smiling faces everyday, and keeping you safe has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my career.” You guys are like my second family.” And clearly, Middle School staff and students feel the same way.
“We’re extremely blessed to have Officer Urso in our building and I’m very grateful for all he does for our kids and staff,” shared teacher Mr. Kerst. “Joe breaks down the walls between students and law-enforcement, but still maintains a sense of authority while promoting a safe and secure environment for staff and students alike,” added teacher Mr. Marfy. “In short, Joe’s the best man for this job!”
According to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the typical duties of a Student Resource Officer (SRO) are safety expert and law enforcer, problem solver and liaison to community resources, and educator. But according to his friends at CMS, Officer Urso goes above and beyond those duties. “Officer Urso has an understanding heart. When talking to a student, he is always an officer but his main objective is to be a helpful friend to all. This task he achieves every day with a smile on his face and compassion in his heart. We are lucky to have him as a friend and protector of our school and us,” marveled school secretary Mrs. Bockmuller.
“Officer Urso is a true blessing. His presence is a vital puzzle piece at CMS, seeing him always makes my day happier,” stated Mrs. Marfy. “His calm demeanor makes him approachable by everyone. He has become an invaluable asset to our district,” shared Guidance Counselor Lynne Morrison. “You are a gem!” summed up Physical Education teacher Mrs.Thigpen. And as students filed out of the auditorium, headed back to class, they echoed her sentiment, offering high-fives to congratulate their friend, Officer Urso for all his efforts.