A summer semester project for one McDowell Tech photography student will now be used as teaching tool for N.C. state troopers.
On Monday, April 21, troopers from McDowell County released an updated N.C. Highway Patrol coloring book given to young students when visiting elementary schools.
Local law enforcement, students, School Board officials and administrators gathered in the media center of Glenwood Elementary to view the new 23-page book that features locations around McDowell County, along with local troopers, their families, and students at West Marion, Glenwood and North Cove elementary schools.
First Sgt. J.C. McClelland of the N.C. Highway Patrol said he got the idea to update the book when he was asked to speak at a school and noticed the pictures in the coloring book were very outdated. He then decided to go to the photography department at McDowell Tech and that’s when he and Kristy Radford became acquainted.
Radford said she needed a project for her portfolio development class, and overheard McClelland’s request. She volunteered for the job on updating the coloring book.
“I was very interested in the project from the beginning and the fact that I would have a finished product to put in my portfolio. I was lucky it fell in my lap,” said Radford. “I had a lot of fun and working with the kids was great. Working with the troopers was also exciting and fun. It was an amazing experience.”
Last summer, Radford rode along with McDowell troopers to capture images of what a state trooper does on a daily basis. She took photographs of the law enforcers investigating collisions, helping the injured, clearing roadways, assisting stranded motorists and enforcing traffic laws.
McClelland said the book was a community effort and thanked all who were involved, including Radford’s instructor, Jon Rountree. He said that creating a coloring book from full color photographs to black and white photos for children to color, was difficult at first.
“Photography is hard and it takes a lot of effort and talent and that’s what Kristie did with this project,” Rountree said. “She sat down and worked with Photoshop and thanks to her imagination and ingenuity, she was able to do it.”
McClelland said the new coloring book will be shared with the highway patrol family and anyone associated with the division, making it available to troopers to use in schools across the state.
“This gives us a better template to use for early elementary kids and introduce them at an early age about what state troopers do,” said McClelland at Monday’s event. “We appreciate the teamwork from everyone involved.”
Terry Frank, retired first sergeant and current McDowell County School Board member, was also at the school on Monday and thanked everyone for their support of law enforcement and the school system.
“The coloring book could make an impact in our schools,” said Frank. “I appreciate being able to a part of this to help strengthen the children’s relationship with the highway patrol.”