Student Resource Officer Mike Thull implemented a new program at the Yellow Medicine East Middle School. Show up 4 Kicks started as an idea from Chris Poiser to help address attendance issues. The way it works is every 10 days, the YME middle-schoolers with perfect attendance will be entered into a drawing. There are extra entries for students that have “Hive cards,” which are awarded when a staff member witnesses some kind of “good deed.” The winners from these drawings are entered into a drawing at the end of the quarter for a chance to win a free pair of shoes.

Thull went to Scheels in St. Cloud to buy shoes to donate. He explained the idea and Scheels offered suggestions for styles and sizes. They also provided a discount and their own donation. Other donations have come from staff members, members of the Granite community, the YME PTO, and even Thull’s grandma.

The program is also helping Thull develop more connections with the students. Kids pop in to check out the shoes and he gets a chance to talk with and get to know them.

Thull learned that shoes are a huge deal at YME. Student put a lot of pride into their shoes. Thull reported he sees a huge boost of confidence when a student has a new pair of shoes, and even sees students cleaning them to take care of them.

The program is currently only for middle-schoolers, much to the chagrin for the high-schoolers. The program may eventually grow to include other grades.

Thull is a YME graduate who was hired by the Granite Falls Police Department. Three years ago the department applied for and received a truancy grant. Thull took over the position last year. His daily work varies. He’s a presence and an ear for the students, and a liaison between the county and the school. He’s also been working on rebuilding the public trust in law enforcement.

Thull originally wanted to become a police officer for the type of action you see in movies. He’s finding that he enjoys the positive, relationship-building aspect suits him much better. It did take a shift to understand the mentality of students, issues that may not be a big deal to adults are huge to the kids.

Thull took his shot at being trend setting back when he was in 8th grade. He decided to try to make velcro shoes cool. He bought a pair and rocked them with confidence. He reported that at least 12 other kids followed. Later he learned that parents were appreciative since the shoes were so cheap at Walmart compared to the more mainstream stylish shoes.