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Romeoville Fifth-Grader is AAA's Chicago Safety Patroller of the Year

Irene King student Kate Katauskas will be recognized at the May 12 Valley View Board of Education meeting.

AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year Kate Katauskas checks out a congratulatory message on the Irene King Elementary School outdoor sign. With her are King Safety Patrol Advisor Lori Russ and Principal April Vacik. Credit: VVSD
AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year Kate Katauskas checks out a congratulatory message on the Irene King Elementary School outdoor sign. With her are King Safety Patrol Advisor Lori Russ and Principal April Vacik. Credit: VVSD
Submitted by Valley View School District:

Kate Katauskas knows how to make what she terms the “tough choices.”

“The right choices are a make-it-or-break-it moment,” the Irene King fifth-grader wrote in an essay that played a key role in her selection as AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year for Illinois and Northern Indiana.

“Hands down Kate is going to be President of the United States,” said AAA’s Charlene Sligting. “She has great leadership qualities and wrote an incredible essay.”

Kate blushes at the thought of being president and says she really wants to be an elementary school teacher when she finishes her education a decade or more from now. In the meantime, the straight A student is content to be Captain of Patrol at Irene King while, at the same time, being involved in Math Club, Book Club, Choir, Girls on the Run, Young Rembrandts and Young Authors. She is also a Girl Scout and does volunteer work at her church and at the Romeoville Humane Society.

In her nomination paperwork for the AAA honor, King Safety Patrol Advisor Lori Russ used such words as well-spoken leader, always organized, reliable, punctual, knowledgeable, motivated, dedicated and well-rounded in describing Kate.

“Being a safety patrol is all about being a role model to younger students,” Kate wrote in her essay. “(It) really changed my view of things. It helped me have a better understanding of what teachers and staff members really do for us. It really helped me to allow myself to take a step back and say thank you.”

Kate says her unusual interest in being involved comes from a variety of sources.

“Of course my parents guide me through this process,” she said. “But I just really observe what’s going on. I feel like a sponge sometimes and just soak it all in. It’s pretty much observing and listening to what my parents are telling me and listening to other people.”

As she put it in her essay: “As a leader I believe that being respectful, responsible and safe is a life lesson that starts in the heart of school. These are the qualities that I will carry throughout my life. By being respectful I earn a great amount of trust and I also earn some respect in return.”

Kate will receive her award at the May 12 VVSD School Board meeting.

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