Police, Pumpkins & Paint!
Posted On:
Saturday, November 04, 2017
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The Chapin Street School cafeteria was recently transformed into a pumpkin painting studio, welcoming 112 students (2nd & 3rd grade) and 12 Ludlow Police Officers for a morning of pumpkin painting fun. The heavy police presence was part of the ongoing partnership with the Ludlow Police Department;  giving students the opportunity to interact with officers in a fun, nonthreatening and safe environment.

Ashley Antoine, Chapin Street Adjustment Counselor, explained that the PBIS Committee at Chapin Street School planned the event after being able to purchase the 135 pumpkins at a discount from Gooseberry Farms in West Springfield.  Students from both 2nd and 3rd grade cashed in 40 PBIS tickets  (tickets given out for showing ROAR...Respect, Ownership, Attitude, Responsibility) for the opportunity to paint pumpkins with Ludlow Police Officers.

“Our goal was to connect students with their community in a positive way, and what better way to do that then to reach out to our local police department - members of the Ludlow community who protect and serve our students,” shared Antoine.

“The PBIS Committee hoped this would be a positive, joyful experience for all, and this fell nothing short of just that! Plus it supported our ELA curriculum - pumpkins painting police - it’s a perfect example of an alliteration,” added Antoine, with a grin!

After receiving a phone call from Antoine explaining the idea, Detective Stephen Ricardi organized the event at the police station. “I thought it was a great idea, so I reached out to the department to see if anyone would want to come and paint pumpkins with the kids - everyone was really receptive - as you can see by the turnout today.”

“Kids are the future of the town- so positive events like this are important,” continued Ricardi.  “I have a little one of my own and so it’s nice to have the opportunity to give a personality to the uniform and it shows us in a different light;  it was fun to be around the kids to share a smile and paint some pumpkins!”   

Third grader, Beatrice Chelo, whose brother, Officer Jay Chelo, joined in the fun, shared, “It was really fun to paint the pumpkins in school;  and my brother was there to help me think of ideas of what to paint.”

When asked how she felt about having a police officer for a brother, she smiled, and replied, “I’m proud of my brother because he helps to catch bad guys and keep us all safe.”

Third grader, Nolan Lubarsky said he was enjoyed being able to paint pumpkins, adding,  “I was happy to have the police there because I think they are all cool- they fight crime - they’re super heroes!”

“I love art, so it was fun to be able to paint pumpkins with my friends,” said third grader, Eliana Franco.  “It was also cool to have the police there to help us cause they take care of us and do good things for us like taking bad guys to jail.”

“Kids have a special place in our hearts-  many of the officers here today have children of their own,” shared Police Chief Pablo Madera as he proudly watched his officers channel their artistic side and pick up a paintbrush to share a special memory with 112 excited students.  “I hope they (students) begin to see us as someone they can come to, who they can trust and go to if they need help- just like their teachers.  It doesn’t take much-- just sitting down and sharing some paint can make all the difference.”

Detective Sgt. Louis Tulik was excited to spend time with the students, “Anytime we can interact with kids is a positive for the police department. It’s a great opportunity to interact with kids on a different level-- for them to see us as real people, not simply as cops. I hope this will help kids feel more comfortable in the presence of police officers.”

“I taught DARE for ten years and went to elementary school here at Chapin,” shared Detective Dave Kornacki, as he entered the school. “Coming back today to spend time with Chapin students will not only be fun, but I’m sure will bring back some great memories- not to mention I love to paint pumpkins!”  

“It is important that we share with our students the positive and helpful support police officers bring to our community on a daily basis,” stated Chapin Street Principal, Nikki Reed.  “The smiles were nonstop- both on the faces of the students and police officers.  We are so appreciative that 11 officers- and Police Chief Madera- took time to connect with Chapin students. It was such a fun and memorable event - we hope to welcome the officers back for another event in the near future."

*Scroll down the page to view photos and a video montage of the fun.

THANK YOU- Chief Pablo Madera, Det. Sgt. Louis Tulik, Det. David Kornacki, Det. Stephen Ricardi, Officer Thomas Lee, Officer Jerome Mayou, Officer Jay Chelo, Officer Brandon Vigneault, Officer Jake Stokowski, Officer Melissa Dion, Officer Jordan Liszka, Officer Andrew Roxo

THANK YOU- Ms. Moriarty, Miss Anderson, Mrs. Antoine, Mrs. Potter, Mrs. Driscoll, Mrs. Coelho, Mrs. Foley & Mrs. Foley for helping to set up and clean up the pumpkin fun!

 Video Montage of the pumpkin painting fun!

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