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St Rose Eighth Grade Students Beat Cops In First Annual Cops Vs Kids Event



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St Rose of Lima School eighth graders triumphed over Newtown Police Department officers with a close score of 22-19 in the school’s first annual Blue Vs Red/Cops Vs Kids event on Wednesday, May 22.

Held at the Saint Rose field right beside the school, the event had local officers challenge the eighth graders in various outdoor games.

Classes were paused from 1 pm to dismissal for the special occasion, so all students from kindergarten to seventh grade spent the rest of the school day sitting on the hill overlooking the field, enjoying the warm weather, and cheering on the competitors.

The eighth graders wore red in honor of their school’s signature color, while the police officers wore blue to represent the signature color of their uniform. Whichever team won got bragging rights and the special Cops Vs Kids trophy, which features each team’s color, little graphics of a police car and a pencil, and “WINNER” in big gold letters.

Since the students beat the officers, the trophy will stay at St Rose until next year’s competition, where the trophy will be up for grabs again.

Dean of Student Life Mary Jo Bokuniewicz said that she was just happy to see the students happy and to give them a chance to connect with the officers.

“It’s such a great opportunity,” Bokuniewicz said. “I mean, the police department does so much for the community as is, and now they get a chance to interact with the kids and the kids get to see them in a different light.”

There were ten different games in total, and ranged from individual races that tested each competitor’s speed to team based challenges that forced people to work together.

Officers and students faced off in traditional races such as the “Egg Race,” where students and officers raced to the finish line while they balanced an egg on a spoon with one hand. If they dropped it, then they would have to go all the way back to the starting line.

There was also the “Four-Legged Race,” where students and officers worked as a team of four with their legs strapped together. Each group tried to outdo the other in team-cooperation and speed and worked hard to reach the finish line first.

Those team-cooperation skills carried over into other games. “Sweep It Under the Rug” had students and officers flip a rug over with four people standing on it at the same time. No one was allowed to step off of it, otherwise they would have to start over again. “Balloon Pop” was a relay race that had students and officers sit on and pop a few tiny balloons before swapping out with the next person.

A total of five NPD officers participated in the event, including Officers Jason Flynn, Bill Hull, Felicia Figol, Maryhelen McCarthy, and Sergeant Scott Ruszczyk. McCarthy did not participate in the event as a competitor, but instead as an announcer.

Students and officers were neck-and-neck throughout the entire event. When a team won one round, the other team won the other right afterwards. A couple St Rose students patiently judged each round and kept track of the score. The students attentively watched who beat who as they added new tally marks on their big whiteboard at the end of every round.

With every win, the other students sitting on the hill cheered the competitors on. The kindergartners and first graders were asked by the police to be their cheerleaders, so they dressed up in blue to support. The second graders wore red since they are the “buddy class” of the eighth grade according to Bokuniewicz. For the rest of the school, she said whatever color they wore was up to them.

Bokuniewicz said that it was important for all of the students to have big events like this at the end of the school year and spend some time together.

“Especially this time of year, we’re trying to get things wrapped up,” Bokuniewicz said. “But at the same time, we want the kids to be able to have that down time … We play hard, we work hard, and now we want everyone to come together and spend some time together.”

The NPD were the ones who reached out to St Rose to hold the event. According to NPD Officer Flynn and Sergeant Ruszczyk, their colleagues Officers McCarthy and Figol had brainstormed the whole idea.

Bokuniewicz recalls to The Bee when McCarthy reached out and how excited she was to share “this great idea that [they] wanted to start this year.” McCarthy was even the one who made the special trophy awarded at the end of the event.

With both students and officers smiling, laughing, and exhausted after a fun time competing against each other, both St Rose staff and NPD officers are looking forward to having this event again in the future.

NPD Officer Flynn said that he was super excited to participate in the event and to have a chance to connect to people in the community.

“We love getting out in the community and spending time with them, not just kids, but adults, everybody. It’s just nice to be out here,” Flynn said.


Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Newtown Police Department officers faced off against St Rose of Lima School eighth grade students in a variety of outdoor competitions for the school’s first annual Blue Vs Red/Cops Vs Kids on Wednesday, May 22. The students beat the officers with a close score of 22-19. —Bee Photos, Visca
St Rose students and staff sat on the hill overlooking the school’s field and cheered on their team of choice.
Students Luke Budzynski (left, red team), Robert Caulfield, Daniel Hanley, and Liam Kirkman raced against police officer Felicia Figol (left, blue team), Sergeant Scott Ruszczyk, and officers Bill Hull and Jason Flynn in the competition’s “Four-Legged Race.” Despite an initial lead in the race from the officers, the students ended up making a comeback and crossed the finish line first.
Newtown Police Department officers Jason Flynn (left), Bill Hull, Felicia Figol, and Sergeant Scott Ruszczyk delicately balance a ball on small pipe pieces for the “Down the Drain” game. In this game, officers and students had to make a continuous path out of small pipes to move the ball from the starting line all the way into the bucket at the finish line as quickly as possible.
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