Those who drive by Rocky Mount Elementary see Alice Medlin every day, sometimes twice a day. They may even spot her out front of Simpson Middle School or near Lassiter High School. Parents wave. Students smile at the friendly crossing guard that greets them as they walk to school. Some parents stop to chat and laugh with her after walking their students to school.
What they do not always see are the times when “Ms. Alice” steps in front of a whizzing car to pull a student to safety. They may not see her step off the curb into the path of a speeding car, all to protect a Cobb County student in harm’s way. They may not know that some drivers are quite disrespectful as they pass the almost-84 years-young crossing guard. They just see her smile because that’s what she does. She waves to the ill-mannered drivers and returns her attention to the children.
“I love these children. They are like mine,” gushed the beloved crossing guard.
For her dedication to student safety, commitment to serving the Cobb Schools community, and consistently doing it all with a positive attitude and a warm smile, “Ms. Alice” was recently named the North Georgia Outstanding Crossing Guard of the Year by the Georgia Safe Routes to School.
She is one of only four in the entire state of Georgia to receive the title of Crossing Guard of the Year and is the only one in the 39-county area of North Georgia.
“Ms. Alice” was standing in the crosswalk in front of Rocky Mount Elementary when she learned that she had been named Crossing Guard of the Year, a moment that brought tears to her eyes. Rocky Mount Principal Peggy Fleming, Assistant Principal Dr. Sage Doolittle, and Georgia Safe Routes representative Patti Pittman surprised her during Crossing Guard Appreciation Week.
Rocky Mount, Simpson, and Lassiter parents pushed for her to win the recognition. “Ms. Alice” first pulled on the yellow vest of a Cobb Schools crossing guard about 5 years ago when she was a mere 79. She doesn’t plan to retire until she reaches 90.
Some of the adored crossing guard’s friends ask her why she chooses to wake up early every morning and stand in the bitter cold and show up each afternoon to watch over students in the intense Georgia heat.
“It makes it worth living to get up and come here every day,” she tells them. She stands in the rain, cold, and heat because her job gives her the potential to positively impact someone else’s future. That’s an opportunity she cannot turn down.
When she’s not on the job at a crosswalk near you, she’s kicking up her heels on a dance floor. She goes dancing every Saturday.
Because so many parents, students and members of the community see her every day, she is a bit famous. People stop her at the grocery store because they recognize her. She has so many fans—parents and students alike—that they often want to continue their crosswalk talks.
“Ms. Alice is a joy!!! She greets us every day, no matter what the weather, with a smile,” another parent said. “She loves our kids and always makes sure they are safe. My kids love seeing her every morning and afternoon.” This parent’s comment may best represent why so many parents nominated her and why she ultimately won Crossing Guard of the Year.
This article originally appeared in our January issue of EAST COBBER, on page 44. Click here to view the digital edition.