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June 3, 2013

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 704-6682


Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins reads to a group of children from the William Channing Elementary School in Hyde Park.

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently visited the William Channing Elementary School in Hyde Park to read to a group of second and third graders. The school, located in the Sheriff’s hometown, serves grades K1–5, and is the main learning place of over 300 elementary school children from the Boston area.

Upon arrival to the school, Sheriff Tompkins expressed admiration for the classroom, which was decorated with a large U.S. flag and images of legendary musicians and inspirational leaders. While very colorful, the room could not compete with the fifty–five vibrant kids that occupied it.

The Sheriff stood before the young leaders and asked, “Who wants to be a Deputy Sheriff and help me out?” as he proceeded to hand out badges to the children. One girl looked at her teacher, touting her new gift and said, “There’s a new Sheriff in town!”

Sheriff Tompkins sat in the middle of the room surrounded by the kids as he prepared to read “JoJo’s Flying Side Kick” by Brian Pinkney. The book, which describes a young girl’s journey to obtaining a yellow belt in Tae Kwan Do, is also a strong story of triumph and persistence – a prominent lesson for the kids striving to walk on the path to success. Sheriff Tompkins actively engaged the youths, asking them for the meanings of words and even demonstrations of some Tae Kwan Do moves.

In the story, the main character, JoJo, is afraid of not having what it takes to acquire a yellow belt. However, she is told by her mother to “visualize” what she needs to do, which is a concept that Sheriff Tompkins reiterated for the students to utilize as they continue to pursue their education. At the conclusion of the reading he said, “You see? She defeated her demon, and got her yellow belt!”, emphasizing the point that achievement is possible through hard work.

After reading the story, Sheriff Tompkins presented the group with crayons and the Department’s “Safetey Tips For Kids” coloring books, which were distributed by Director of External Affairs Sandy Zamor–Calixte, Sergeant Abiezer Ayuso and Public Information Officer Zakiyyah Sutton. It was a wonderful closing to the event, as it also symbolized the beginning of the children putting their own visions onto paper, and filling in any empty spaces they spot with their own bright colors.


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