By Jaime Polmateer
When Grade 4 student Kenzie Stetler was tasked with finding a topic for the annual Heritage Fair earlier this year, her decision came easy.
At just 10 years-old Stetler’s goal is to become a police officer when she grows up, and with her friend and neighbour Cpl. Mark Labossiere living in her neighbourhood, she asked him to be the main subject of her research project on the RCMP.
“She asked me a few months ago and explained they were doing a Heritage Fair at the school and she wanted to do it on the RCMP; she’s had her picture taken with all the other members (in the past) and she thought it would be really cool,” said Labossiere.
“She came down to the detachment, took a bunch of pictures and interviewed me for her project and it was a lot of fun.”
Stetler’s class at Raft River Elementary School had to choose topics for their projects that either reflected the heritage of the Clearwater community or involved a community member that’s had a positive impact on them.
After choosing Labossiere and the local RCMP, she had to write her own questions, gather photos and figure out how her work would be best presented for parents, students and teachers to see.
When Stetler and her mother went down to the RCMP detachment to do the research, that’s when Labossiere said things got real.
“She had some very interesting questions that caught me off guard, I wasn’t expecting that from a student of that age, but she did extremely well on her interview,” Labossiere said, likening Stetler to more of a seasoned investigative reporter than an elementary student.
“She brought out her pad of paper, recorder and proceeded to ask questions about the detachment, our patrol area, what the police do and what a typical day might entail for police.”
After the interview she was given an escorted tour of the cell block, guard room, as well as the finger print and prisoner photograph area, maintaining her inquisitive attitude by asking questions on each section of the detachment to support the completion of her project.
“I think it was a very interesting project, I know we were very impressed with it at the detachment and it’s nice to see the youth encouraging and getting involved with this sort of stuff,” Labossiere added.
Once the tour was finished the questions continued with Stetler asking about his career, like why he wanted to join the RCMP, and who played a positive influence in his life.
Labossiere noted all the inquiries were well thought out, amazing him by how her variety of questions struck at the very core of why most officers join the force.
Stetler’s project was eventually chosen to compete in the regional finals in Kamloops, B.C where she went up against other elementary students’ projects from schools within School District #73.