Who doesn’t love their crossing guard?
“I think all crossing guards are personable,” said Evelyn Harris, who is a member of the fluorescent tribe that offer safe passage to students and accompanying pedestrians. “They’re not in it to get rich; they’re in it because they enjoy the socialization and doing something good for kids.”
Harris certainly enjoys it. She’s customized the corner of Jessen and Palm Drives above Palm Crest Elementary so that it feels like a friendly, outdoor classroom. All school-year long, the kids are greeted with pinwheels and posters, as well as rotating motivational messages on a whiteboard, which Harris changes daily: Make Monday Magical, Terrific Tuesday, Wild Wacky Wed, Thoughtful Thursday, Fantastic Friday.
In its cool red shades and bright PCR T-shirt, a stuffed animal named Ranger is perched on the corner, keeping Harris company — and helping catch drivers’ attention, reminding them to watch for creatures crossing.
Harris, a retired information technology specialist for the L.A. law firm O’Melveny & Myers, is on a first-name basis with all 70 of the students who cross her path, and many of their chaperones, too.
She even helped sell one parent on the neighborhood: “Cameron [Fox] was looking at a house over there, and she came and talked to me about the neighborhood. I said, ‘This is a great school, a great neighborhood, and if you move here, I’m going to be your crossing guard.’”
And now she is, to Fox’s delight: “Miss Evelyn is definitely special.”
She’s not the only beloved crossing guard in her own home: Her partner, Nan Gwinner, a crossing guard at Monte Vista Elementary in La Crescenta, was named “Crossing Guard of the Year” in the area two years ago.
“I want to give a shout-out to all crossing guards,” Harris said. “It is something we do because we enjoy being with the kids and keeping them safe.”