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The Piedmont Highlander

The Piedmont Highlander

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February 15, 2024

Stop and Smile: Magnolia’s Crossing Guard

Valerie+Jones+holds+up+her+stop+sign.
Ruby Guzdar
Valerie Jones holds up her stop sign.

A singular bright yellow vest stands out among the sea of teens running to class in black hoodies and jeans. A large red stop sign emerges between honking cars, allowing students to cross the street towards the STEAM building.

Valerie Jones has been a crossing guard for PHS crossing guard since March. She said that she retired three years ago after working as an account associate at Xerox for 23 years. 

“For three years, I was at home doing nothing, and when I was out I would see the crossing guards. So I decided to try it out and see,” Jones said.

She said after calling All City Management Services, she had to get a background check, be trained, and do fingerprinting—all of which took a day. 

Jones has been stationed at her spot on the corner between Magnolia Avenue and Bonita Avenue since she began working as a crossing guard.

“They asked me if I wanted to transfer somewhere else, and I was like ‘No!’ ” she said. “It’s a one-way street going up. I like it.”

The job doesn’t come without challenges, however. 

“Kids still want to jaywalk. Or they look at me like I’m not even there,” Jones said. “I call them out sometimes and they’ll apologize, but sometimes they will just keep walking.”

Jones said that overall, she loves that she gets the opportunity to talk with more people.

“I love talking to the kids, watching them come in and going out,” Jones said.

Students also appreciate her love of socializing.

“She always says good morning to me and is really nice everyday,” freshman Will Hinman said.

Principal Goswami said that when faculty comes to school early, Jones is always there to greet them with a smile.

“I feel like she never judges me for being late,” senior Cleopatra Tahawi said.

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About the Contributor
Ruby Guzdar, Campus Editor
Ruby Guzdar (11) is a campus co-editor at TPH. Outside of school, she loves playing lacrosse and tennis, cooking birds, hiking with her dogs, and spending time with friends.
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