HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Nearly 400 students from Thornwell School for the Arts marched down Carolina Avenue on Wednesday morning, headed for the Carmike Cinema Twin move theater and accompanied by the Hartsville Police Department.
The department’s community outreach division, known as Hartsville Safe Communities, treated the students to a showing of “Zootopia,” a new animated movie from Disney, along with popcorn and drinks. The exciting event marked one of the first relationship-building activities for Hartsville Police Officer Jaye Gullett, the city’s new community liaison officer. The movie brought excellent themes to the children, she said, and the event offered quality time to engage with the city’s youth.
“We had an awesome time. The movie was an excellent opportunity for the children to learn that with hard work and dedication, you can accomplish just about anything,” Gullett said. “Children are very impressionable. These are the formative years. It’s important that they’re exposed to positive, friendly, engaging police officers. The exposure that they have right now will affect they way they feel about policing later.”
Students filled both of Carmike Cinema’s theaters Wednesday, and more visited Thursday for a second viewing. The movie’s themes also aligned with the ethical pathway of the PULSE Comer School Development Program at the school.
Thornwell Principal Dr. Lilkenya Jenkins said the school is thankful for the Hartsville Police Department’s initiative to build positive relationships with students.
“It was a great opportunity. Our students were really excited about the movie, but they were also excited to be able to speak one-on-one with the police officers,” Jenkins said. “A lot of our children say they want to become police officers, so it was great to be able to make that connection. We are definitely looking forward to that continued partnership with the city.”
The Hartsville Police Department’s Hartsville Safe Communities program is led by Lt. Tenyonde Richardson. For more information, please visit www.hartsvillesc.gov.
For more information about Darlington County School District, please visit www.darlington.k12.sc.us.
Please click here to download photos from this event.