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On Friday, January 30, 2015, the Heath Student Council “Pride Patrol” traveled right around the corner to the elementary in closest proximity. Their mission: to recognize and celebrate Special Education Paraprofessional Rickie Tuttle.

Pride Patrol Senior Ambassadors Annabelle Baker, Andrew Fisher, Mackenzie Long, Bailey Varner, Kenzie Woessner, Junior Britton Swanson, and Sophomore Grayson Smartt joined forces with sponsor Leah Voth, Assistant Principal Megan Smith, and Office Manager Roxie Montgomery to stage the celebration.

“It was a complete representation of the community of Rockwall-Heath and showed what being a ‘Hawk’ and Student Council member is all about…serving others,” Senior Andrew Fisher said of the outing.

The group, uniformly clad in their signature baseball tees, stealthily followed Tuttle to a 6th grade classroom where he regularly assists early in the school day. As the 7 students and 3 adults entered clapping and cheering, confusion registered on the faces of the students, the substitute teacher, and Mr. Tuttle.

Student council members explained their purpose, read the nomination from Dr. Maricela Helm, and bestowed treats upon Mr. Tuttle. He was most excited about receiving the t-shirt.

Officer Manager Roxie Montgomery used her iPad to connect with Dr. Helm via FaceTime so that Dr. Helm, away at Camp Grady Spruce with the 5th graders, could “witness” the presentation.

“It was amazing to see the tears in Mr. Tuttle’s eyes as he was honored,” Annabelle Baker said.

“It was such an honor to be a part of the Pride Patrol again. I have seen Mr. Tuttle in action during my PALS visits and have experienced firsthand the positive impact that he has on others,” Kenzie Woessner said.

“It was super fun getting to thank such a deserving teacher and seeing his genuine thankfulness in return,” Britton Swanson said.

The nomination, submitted by Principal Dr. Maricela Helm, reads as follows:

Mr. Tuttle is one of the first to arrive to campus and one of the last to leave. He works diligently each day with students from all grade levels of various disabilities.  He also has morning duty, lunch duty, after school duty AND works the Rock program. He always has a smile on his face and is willing to do anything to help others. The best part is he loves his job and I can see that by the pride he takes with each new task.

“Going to APHE and showing some appreciation to Mr. Tuttle really put smiles on everyones’ faces,” Grayson Smartt said.

“I loved it. It was really touching to go back to my old elementary and honor one of the teachers who has impacted the school so much and it was really warming to see his reaction,” Mackenzie Long said.

“Recognizing people sends an extremely powerful message to the recipient that their work is valued.  However, when STUDENTS initiate the recognition it also reflects the spirit of a community and the core values being taught to our amazing kids!” Amy Parks Principal Dr. Maricela Helm said.

“I often tell people that I think the best thing in working for the Rockwall ISD is that the experiences are priceless – as was this one! When presented with the recognition award, I was surprised, in disbelief, flattered, and humbled all at the same time. Wow! What a tremendous feeling to be accepted and so appreciated by the students and faculty. And yes, I love this job!” Honoree Rickie Tuttle said.

“We started the Pride Patrol as a way to recognize more people, and it’s so cool to see that play out. I look forward to more Pride Patrol visits to more campuses,” Bailey Varner said.

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