Kids raise grades officer takes them to aquarium

June 25, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Officer Bill Goodman has been patrolling the Essex area on a bicycle for over a year, in all weather. When he can, he stops and talks with children and sometimes plays a quick game of catch.

During one such game a few months ago, the Baltimore County police officer noticed several children from the Village of Tall Trees apartment complex talking about their bad grades. They didn't seem upset. Officer Goodman decided to issue a challenge: If they brought their grades up, he'd take all of them to the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Wednesday, Officer Goodman paid off.

He and a dozen children who had significantly raised their grades in school went on an all-day trip to the aquarium. It was the first trip there for many of the children.

"They loved it. They really did," said Officer Goodman.

"One of them said, after seeing the dolphin show, that he wanted to be a dolphin trainer when he grows up," the officer reported. "A couple of them couldn't believe how many fish there were. . . . And, of course, they went wild over the sharks."

The children, ages 8 to 13 years, attend Mars Estates Elementary and Middle River Middle schools, said Officer Goodman. Seventh-grader Frank Haddix made the most improvement -- getting three A's, two B's and two C's. Before the challenge, young Haddix had received two A's, three C's, a D and an F, said Officer Goodman.

The trip was organized through Police and Children Together, or PACT, a group of Essex precinct officers who try to talk with children in their patrol areas.

The Weinberg Foundation paid for the aquarium tickets, and the county school system provided bus transportation. The management at Village of Tall Trees also chipped in, giving each child $5 to spend in the aquarium's gift shop.

One of the youngsters used his money to buy the officer a souvenir pin. Officer Goodman said that made his efforts "worth it."

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