ST. GEORGE — It was just another day on duty for Santa Clara-Ivins Police Sgt. Jaren Studley – or so it seemed. That is until he spotted some green character in the distance – not the Grinch – but a merry elf holding up a stop sign and helping children cross the street near Red Mountain Elementary School in Ivins.
Photos of this cheery elf, who happens to also be a crossing guard supervisor, were sent to St. George News by Studley after the elf left a joyous impression on him Friday morning.
Studley had been dispatched to the elementary school where he was to spend the day following the release of a concerning, viral TikTok challenge video, which prompted the Washington County School District to issue a statement, a copy of which can be found in the gallery.
When the Santa Clara-Ivins Police Department heard of the challenge, it was decided during a briefing to place an officer at each of the schools located in the Santa Clara-Ivins area, which is how Studley came upon the cheery elf interacting with the children in the crosswalk as they made their way to school.
Studley said the crossing guard supervisor, Amanda Campbell, was helping out at the school that morning. She was dressed as “Buddy the Elf,” wearing a green elf costume, complete with a green hat and curly-toed slippers, a costume created to mirror the character played by Will Ferrell in the movie “Elf,” he said.
Aside from being responsible for the 10 crossing guards that serve all Santa Clara-Ivins area schools, and for making sure the children are safely escorted across the street, Campbell also found time to talk to the children as she came up with several of the best quotes from the movie – efforts that brought laughter and joy to the students and parents alike.
The sight of the elf in the crosswalk was so impressive, Studley said, that Campbell’s efforts were “the most awesome display of community outreach I think I’ve ever seen.”
St. George News reached out to Steven Dunham, communications director for the district, who said the crossing guards serving throughout Washington County are the lifeblood of the district and commended Campbell’s efforts, saying the joy she brought to the crossing guard role was “fantastic.”
He also said that Campbell greeting the children in an elf’s costume is something that will leave a lasting impression on the children, and upon their parents as well.
What makes the supervisor’s efforts even more poignant, Dunham said, is the fact that for many of the students, the crossing guard is the first smile they see as they arrive at school, and is likely the last smiling face they see at the school before returning home in the afternoon.
Studley said it was an enjoyable experience to watch the students interacting with the elf, adding that he was amazed at the number of parents involved in the humorous interactions with the elf as well.
Campbell is expected to make a special holiday appearance as “Buddy the Elf” at each of the area schools before classes are dismissed for Christmas break, Studley said, adding that her efforts and imagination left a lasting impression on many of the children and the timing was perfect – with Christmas just around the corner.
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