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Crossing Guards

Mayor Johnson honors CPS traffic management workers on Crossing Guard Appreciation Day

The four awardees from across the city includes crossing guards from the Logan Square, Gage Park, Washington Park, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods.

Southwest winner Kimberly Dukes receives her award. Photo: Cameron Bolton

This post is sponsored by Ride Illinois.

On Monday's Crossing Guard Appreciation Day, the Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Brandon Johnson honored workers who help keep students and other pedestrians safe on city streets. During a ceremony at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Jackson Blvd. on the Near West Side, four individuals, out of an auditorium full of traffic management personnel, received the Crossing Guard of the Year Award. Nominees were recommended by school children and staff, businesses and families in four different regions of Chicago. The crossing guards were also given credit for years of service, attendance, and other factors.

Crossing guards at the ceremony. Photo: Cameron Bolton

"There is nothing more important than keeping our young people safe from harm, and our crossing guards act as the bridge between our neighborhoods and our schools, welcoming students while giving parents the peace of mind that someone is ensuring their child’s safety," said Mayor Johnson in a press release. "Their mission is extremely important, and they accomplish it every day with smiles and kind words of encouragement. So today, we honor our crossing guards for their hard work and dedication to our school communities and to our young people."

"Ensuring student safety starts before they reach our school doors and our crossing guards are an integral part of that strategy," stated CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. "I am so grateful for their daily efforts to keep our students safe as they cross busy intersections throughout our city. Rain or shine, they are on the front lines ensuring our students travel safely to and from school."

The locations where the four awardees protect pedestrians. Image: Google Maps

The first plaque and certificate went to Central West region winner Jacobo Araujo. He’s been working at Pulaski International School of Chicago elementary in the Logan Square neighborhood since 2022. According to the presenters, not only is the safety of pedestrians a top priority for Araujo, but he is also passionate about creating a safe and comfortable environment for the students and families who cross the the Armitage Avenue and Leavitt Street intersection.

Next was Southwest region champion Kimberly Duke. The presenters said she’s supported 15 different schools in Englewood in her over 19 years on the job. She currently works at Christopher Elementary School in the Gage Park community, helping people cross at 51st Street and Artesian Avenue. Her other roles at the school include lunch room attendant and recess monitor.

The Far South region winner was Tammy T. Anderson, who has recently gained renown as the "Dancing Crossing Guard" for her fancy footwork and cheerful smile. According to the presenters, Anderson said has wanted to be a crossing guard since she was a little girl. She got her wish back in 2016, when she started working at Beasley Elementary School in the Washington Park neighborhood. She helps encourage motorists to drive safely at 53rd and State streets, while cutting a rug.

Far South winner Tammy T. Anderson receives her award. Photo: Cameron Bolton

"CPS crossing guards like Ms. Anderson, who uses her best dance moves to shuffle students across the street, have been recognized for their creativity and dedication to the safety of our families and children," said CPS Chief Safety and Security Officer Jadine Chou in the press release. "They form special bonds within the community they serve as they assist children and other pedestrians when crossing the street, and reporting unsafe conditions or incidents to CPS. They are an essential part of our security team and I am proud to celebrate these dedicated employees today."

The final award went to Gwenette Scott, the North champ. Compared to her fellow award winners, Scott is much newer to the crossing guard game, having only held the for two years. She must be doing something right, though, as this is the second consecutive year she has won. Scott works for Lincoln Elementary School in the Lincoln Park community, helping people cross the street at Kemper Place and Geneva Terrace.

A crossing guard shoots a selfie with Mayor Johnson. Photo: Cameron Bolton

Johnson was there to hand out each of the awards and take photos with the crossing guards. Before the award ceremony, the mayor shared a few words with the crowd, noting that traffic management workers help "build a better, stronger city of Chicago."

"We really want to make sure our residents and visitors understand how important it is to really honor the work of our crossing guards," Chou told Streetsblog. Traffic violence has risen in Chicago in recent years. She added. "Please be respectful as you're driving down the street [to crossing guards] because they're out there protecting our children every day."

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