South San Francisco, CA December 3, 2016 Jonathan Covacha, Principal of Martin Elementary School & Dr Shawnterra Moore, SSFUSD Superintendent, contributed to this write up
Martin Elementary School students were eager to let South San Francisco Police Officer Robby Chon and his family know they are thinking of them during this difficult time as Officer Chon continues his road to recovery after suffering traumatic head injuries sustained on Thanksgiving Day while on duty on Grand Avenue. Chon had been in ICU and was recently upgraded to ‘stable’ status and his family remains by his side knowing he has a long tough road a head of him.
While adults have found ways to express their feelings through cards, gofundme donations, attending the vigil, dropping off food and goodies at our Police Station, etc., our kids too have a need to put into words what they are experiencing. Marin Elementary School teacher, Ms Carlino, knows first hand the concern they are experiencing since her husband is a police officer and she use to be a 911 dispatcher. She attended the vigil along with many students, giving them the opportunity to experience a community coming together in support of our hero. She then guided her students through a project creating mini books filled with Korean characters offering supportive and encouraging messages.
Ms Arce’s class of 1st graders also showed their support by writing their letters to Officer Chon using their dictionaries where they add academic words that they learned throughout the year as a resource. “It’s not only important to highlight and showcase academic excellence of our students but also commend and recognize them when they are exemplifying social-emotional skills and intelligence like kindness and compassion” SSFUSD Superintendent Shawnterra Moore explains.
“The 5th graders made a booklet of compiled get well cards for Officer Chon’s kids (ages 5 to 6) and our students were extra careful with making sure that their messages were kids friendly.” Jonathan Covacha, Principal of Martin Elementary School told us. “So far we have majority of our classes participating and have sent their letters/cards with Ms. Carlino to reach Officer Chon.”
First responders leave for work each day, as we all do, expecting to come back home at the end of their shift. Instead on Thanksgiving Officer Chon’s family received a call no family ever wants to get- their father/husband/brother/son/ was critically injured and would not be returning home in the near future. This is hard on any family, especially the youngsters. Because the Chon family does not live in the immediate area they needed to find lodgings closer to the hospital which further affects the kids. Their world turned upside down, was empathized by other kids their age. “Your father is a hero!” and “Your dad is going to be OK!” were some of the messages from our local students. “We send him our love, he is our superhero!”
James Baldwin’s saying “Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” is a favorite quote of Chovacha’s. With the Martin School PTA leading the way with their bulletin at the entrance of the school filled with blue ribbons and GET WELL SOON, we know our students have high standards to emulate.
If you would like to send encouraging messages/cards to the Chon family please send to: Sgt. Sean Curmi SSF Police Association 33 Arroyo Drive SSF CA 94080