Kindergarten student cops a cool prize, a ride in a cruiser

Mar 21, 2024

MIDDLEBORO – Two students from Memorial Early Childhood Center arrived fashionably late to school Thursday morning — and in quite the sleek ride.

Kindergarten student Hope Whiteside was escorted to school in a police cruiser as a prize for having raised the most money for the school’s second annual Parent Teacher Association fundraiser. 

Hope raised $1,520 and was able to invite her friend Kennedy Wescott along for the ride. 

The PTA holds two annual fundraisers, the proceeds of which go toward field trips, conference meals for teachers and events that enrich the kid’s experience, said PTA president Treasure Gonzalez. 

“We raised enough money with these two fundraisers to cover our budget,” she added. Students helped collect more than $7,000 for the first fundraiser, which they celebrated by pieing faculty and school resource officers in the face. 

This time, Gonzalez noted, they raised $19,300.

Funds were raised through an online link. The fund-raiser was also celebrated with a dance-a-thon, where kids danced along to a video in the school’s auditorium, added Gonzalez. 

As for the experience of riding in the back of a police car, Hope said it was “cool” and she liked “everything” about it, especially talking with her best friend Kennedy. 

Her friend Kennedy said that she was “excited” when Hope picked her to ride along and woke up early to get ready for the occasion even though she “didn’t have to.”

Middleboro Police School Resource Officer Steve Valerio remarked that when he arrived to pick the girls up, “they came running out of the house with the biggest smiles.” 

He said that he suspects this won’t be his last stint as chauffeur to students at the school. “This was a big hit,’’ he said. “I like it as much as the kids do.’’

He added that his passengers were quite chipper in the backseat on the way. “It was awesome to hear the conversations they had in the car this morning.” 

For this fundraiser, parents could share a link with friends and family to an online site for donations, explained Gonzalez. 

Hope’s mother, Meaghan Whiteside, said her daughter insisted on contacting as many people as possible. “She made me call everyone we know and post a video online asking for donations.” 

Of Hope’s efforts, her kindergarten teacher Carly Paling praised Hope’s hard work. 

“She's a good friend and an important part of our school.”