Singing About Some Unsung Heroes: Our Crossing Guards

Crossing guards help students and parents safely across a street near Hubbell Elementary School.

In the taken-for-granted category, school crossing guards might rank right up there. Most people think, if they give it any thought at all, that just about anybody could do that job. But most people don’t. And the fact may actually be that the ones who do are appreciated, especially by the ones they shepherd safely to school in all weathers.

Over the course of this week a delegation of administrative ambassadors has been making the rounds to distribute tokens of appreciation including thank you cards and hot coffee to the crosswalk ushers. It’s the sort of gesture that there’s just too little of in any line of work, but one of the discoveries that’s resulted is the job has perks similar to the ones enjoyed by classroom teachers on a regular basis. Like getting to know the kids and their dogs and watch them grow up together.

Take Kathy McKelvey Hammond, for instance. She’s been on the job for five years at Greenwood, Windsor and Hubbell. The Hubbell post she stands with Monica McKay is right in the eye of a traffic storm along the edge of I-235 at 42nd & Center. If you think the obnoxious drivers you encounter on the road during your daily comings and goings are more inclined to cut school kids and their escorts some slack, think again.

“Sometimes you’d think we’re invisible,” Hammond said, well-bundled on Wednesday morning against a stiff breeze knifing out of the north. “Even with these bright vests we wear and this big red sign we carry (you know, the octagonal ones emblazoned with a four-letter word in all caps) some people are just in such a hurry, especially in the mornings.”

But Hammond, who’s raised and graduated six kids of her own, and her colleagues all feel the double shift of childish sunshine they experience on a daily basis overshadows all manner of foul weather they’re exposed to, including clueless drivers. Right on cue, here came Nick with his dad and their pooch, Moca. They all fall in line as McKay, on the east side of the intersection, meets Hammond halfway across who they follow the rest of the way like the pied piper. Safely on the other side, he shortcuts, double-time, through the grass and inside for another day in the life of Nick.

Hammond and McKay would seem him later.

“It’s amazing how much they change during a school year,” Hammond said, smiling. “I just love it – keeps me feeling young.”

Maybe we don’t learn everything we need to know at the crosswalk, but we do learn the one thing that makes all the rest possible – look both ways!

Here’s to the path-clearers!

DMPS Crossing Guards

  • Brubaker: Sheila Daniels, Mary Holman
  • CapitolView: Charice Williams, Almo Shannon
  • Carver: Shirley Bolden
  • Cattell: Mary Carr
  • Edmunds: Robert Niederklopfer
  • Findley: Wayne Morrow
  • Greenwood: Sharon Mahood, Roscoe Malone
  • Hanawalt: Doreen Johnson
  • Hillis: Rhonda Picha , Robert Thompson
  • Hubbell: Kathy McKelvey Hammond, Monica McKay
  • Jackson: Velta Bucklin, Diana Hudson
  • King: Michael Haviland, Patee Jones, Bobbie Lemmons
  • Monroe: Jack Adams, Lance Fish
  • Morris: Nancy Beghtel, Jo Gillespie
  • Moulton: Nathan Butts
  • OakPark: Gail Reeve, Susan Herring, Carlene Chebuhar
  • ParkAvenue: Lorraine Cleveland, Joe Wray
  • Riverwoods: Jacki Harvey, Glen Baker
  • Samuleson: Teri Davis, Ron Davis
  • SouthUnion : Barry Arnold, Becky Arnold
  • Willard: Barbara Evatt, Rhonda Torrez
  • Windsor: Cassandra Ware, Lelani Wilson

DMPS-TV Report on Thanking our Crossing Guards

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