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Children get close-up look at vehicles

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Christie Cobb, left, and Torona Harrell, 9, check out the back seat of a Tarboro police cruiser Friday at Tarboro High School in Tarboro.

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BY PHILIP SAYBLACK
Staff Writer

Saturday, October 21, 2017

TARBORO — Edgecombe County Public Schools’ Exceptional Children Department put some big smiles on students’ faces Friday with a first-time ever event. 

The organization held its inaugural Touch-A-Truck event for the district’s exceptional children at Tarboro High School. The nearly daylong event allowed the students to get up close and personal with a number of big trucks and other vehicles, which included sitting in the vehicle’s cabs.

Trucks from the Tarboro Public Works Department, Tarboro Fire Department, Edgecombe-Martin County Electric Membership Corp., Barnhill Construction Co. and even the Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum were on hand for the event along with SUVs from the Tarboro Police Department and Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office. Edgecombe County Schools Exceptional Children’s Services Director Reida Roberts estimated that between 15 and 20 vehicles were on site for the event. 

Roberts said the school was chosen as the event’s site “because of its layout” and because “it is a central location for the emergency services.” Roberts offered thanks to Edgecombe County Public Schools Communications & Community Relations Coordinator Susan Hoke for her part in making the event happen, saying Hoke “did a lot of the leg work for the event.”

Roberts added the positive reaction to the event from the participating organizations and from the students and their parents was encouraging.

“It’s been very heartwarming to get such positive reaction,” Roberts said. “It’s so motivating to do more things, knowing that the community is supportive of them. It helps you organize more things for children with disabilities. I would love for this to be an annual event that we can build on each year.”

Tarboro High School Exceptional Children teacher Wendy Armstrong and SouthWest Edgecombe High School teaching assistant Linda White-Edmonds agreed.

“Seeing this makes me feel like our kids are important and that the community wants to do something for them,” Armstrong said, adding with a laugh that her students were so excited about the event that they had been reminding her about it all week.

“Seeing all this makes me feel real good because they’re very excited,” White-Edmonds said. “They don’t get out a lot. They should always be included in everything that the town and county does.”

While the trucks and SUVs on display were the main draw at Friday’s event, they were not its only attraction. The Tarboro Police Department put on a K-9 demonstration with Tarboro police Cpl. Lee Bailey and his K-9 partner Zeus, which brought plenty of applause from everyone.The students also got to ride in a 1948 Jeep brought by the Edgecombe County Veterans Military Museum.

Students from across the district attended the event in one-hour spans with pre-school students all the way up to high school students taking part. Students from Martin Millenium Academy served as mentors for some of the exceptional children throughout the day. 

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