Their motto is safety first.
With the new school year approaching, Mt. Lebanon’s crossing guards gathered to brush up on training at a seminar at the Public Safety Center last week.
Because of the pandemic, it’s been almost two years since they’ve been able to gather like this.
The theme this year is back to basics, crossing guard supervisor Sharon Kroner pointed out to the 41 attendees she calls “crosswalk heroes.”
Mt. Lebanon currently has 39 guards for 40 posts, with one open post and five substitute guards. Ideally, Kroner would like to have a roster of 15 substitutes to best cover call-offs and vacations.
Many of the crossing guards are retirees who like working with the community and engaging with the public. Each has an incredible story to tell.
Elaine Morgenstern is in her fourth year as a crossing guard at Washington and Mellon schools. “I retired after 20 years at UPMC and I decided I needed to keep busy and have something to do, and I like being part of the neighborhood and the community,” she said.
She remembers a time when a young boy around 8 years old looked up at her with a serious look on his face and asked, “Are those your real teeth?” She just laughed and said “yes.” Kids DO say the darnedest things!
Ed Boyle is starting his 12th year at Foster Elementary School, where the kids nicknamed him “Safety Ed.” “I was only 59 when I retired and I knew I had to do something to keep busy and this was it. It’s not a job to me, it’s fun. I enjoy keeping the kids safe,” he said. “To me, I’m doing something important.”
Boyle remembers the first word spoken by an infant whose mother was one of the pedestrians he regularly helped cross the street. He pointed to his sign and said ‘stop,’ enough times, one day the baby looked at him and said “stop.” “Her mom said ‘that’s the first word she’s ever spoken,’” Ed said with a laugh.
Joan Sankey started working as a crossing guard in 1998. “This is a job that keeps me busy, gives me a purpose and I feel like I’m actually doing something good for everybody and I enjoy the children immensely,” she said. You can find her at Hoover Elementary School.
All three agreed they’re early risers by nature, so getting to their posts before school starts in the morning is never a problem. As Elaine pointed out, “The weather’s never really all that bad.”
Mt. Lebanon is hiring! If you’re interested in becoming a crossing guard, click this link for more details or contact Kroner at 412-343-4540.