Brenda Hnilicka – one of the many crossing guards at Meadowbrook Elementary School in Howard.
BY RICH PALZEWIC
HOWARD – Monday, Jan. 22, was a perfect example of what crossing guards in the Howard-Suamico School District (HSSD) go through – it was rainy and cold with 25 mph winds; but crossing guard Brenda Hnilicka was still present making sure kids at Meadowbrook Elementary were able to cross Hillcrest Heights safely.
The week of Jan. 22-26 is Wisconsin Adult School Crossing Guard Recognition Week across the state.
“We are out here in all types of weather,” said Hnilicka, who has been a crossing guard in the district for 20-plus years. “I’ve been at all different corners, but specifically at Meadowbrook for about the last six years.
The crossing guards in the HSSD are technically employed by the Village.
“The best part of my job is the kids,” Hnilicka said. “It’s really cool to see them grow from when they come here as Kindergarten students and eventually moving on to Bay View (Middle School) where I cross as well. I’ve been doing this job long enough where I’ve even seen kids that I crossed have kids of their own.”
Speaking of the weather, it’s kind of ironic that Hnilicka and the rest of the crossing guards in the district don’t get to do their job when the weather is typically the best – in the summer.
“That’s true,” said a smiling Hnilicka, who plans to continue doing her job for another 10 years or so. “I stand out here in the pouring rain, wind and cold, but when it’s not doing any of this, we aren’t working because it’s the summer! I kind of compare it to a mail person – we work in all kinds of weather.”
Meadowbrook is very busy place usually from about 8:25 in the morning until school starts 20 minutes later, but it’s the afternoon shift that is the busiest because dozens of cars have to wait on Hillcrest before pulling into the school.
“When cars get backed up to pick up their kids in the afternoon, that’s when we seem to have the most trouble,” Hnilicka added. “I have never – or the kids either – been involved in an accident here. The kids are great, but you do see cars speeding through the zone and close calls with cars almost hitting another vehicle. All in all things are pretty good. We just ask parents to slow down and be safe.”
Many times at Meadowbrook a police officer can be seen on one of the adjacent streets to Hillcrest – patrolling traffic and talking to youngsters as they walk by.
As a gentle reminder, please make sure you honor school-zone speed limits (15 mph), slow down, stay alert and thank a crossing guard – without them our schools in the HSSD wouldn’t be as safe.