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C. Fowler School gushes with praise for Ceres Police officers
James Yandell
Students stood in line to give high-fives to Ceres Police Lt. James Yandell at Carroll Fowler Elementary School last week. - photo by JEFF BENZIGER/Courier photo

With all the bad things occurring to the law enforcement community, the outpouring of love and support to local officers continued last week when Carroll Fowler School staged an appreciation day.

Teacher Ronna Albonetti said the idea sprang forth from a Wednesday morning teacher prayer group that thought expressing support for Ceres Police was long overdue. The idea came simultaneously as Mae Hensley Junior High School hosted a similar event on Dec. 1.

"When we met it just seemed like, you know what, we want to thank our officers," said Albonetti. "It started with maybe have some donuts and coffee. And then it kind of just blossomed where another groups said I want to do this. PTC got involved. Office got involved and then it turned into a Carroll Fowler community event, a much bigger thing that is lovely."

Albonetti's son, Brian Albonetti, was a police officer in Ceres before taking a job with the Roseville Police Department.

"It just touches my heart to see these little kids, this community, come together."

Kindergarteners through sixth-graders took turns visiting the school's multi-purpose to high-five officers, shaking hands, reading statements of support and offering baked goods. The kids also made "badges of thank you" and handed them to officers.

"This is the greatest thing," said Officer Pat Dayton. "It's more fun dealing with these guys than those guys," referring to bad guys outside the campus. "Hopefully
"Oh interacting with these little kids is way more fun, especially at this point in my career," said Ceres Police Lt. James Yandell. "This kind of stuff recharges your tanks a little bit. Dealing with dirt bags drags you down. This is something positive."

At one point during the morning reception, a large poster featuring photos of the kids on badges was presented to the officers with the sentiment: "C.F. 1st Grade says, ‘Embrace the Shield.'"

The youngest students seemed overwhelmed by the giant uniformed officers who had to come down to their level for fist bumps and high-fives. Students in the special needs class made a game of jumping up for repeated high-five slaps of the hands.