Kathy McKean: bringing smiles to the crosswalk


Emily Kinnaman

Every morning and afternoon, crossing guard Kathy McKean helps Foothill students cross the street. But to her, the job is more than that – it is an opportunity to brighten students’ days.

McKean has been a crossing guard for three years. Her favorite part of the job is the students.


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“I like making sure that everybody’s safe. I like making sure that everybody has a good day. I want to put a smile on everybody’s face when they get here,” McKean said. “I know it’s not fun to come to school. It’s great to leave, I know I’ll get smiles then, but in the mornings when you’re grumpy, and you’re not feeling like being here, I hope I put a smile on someone’s face.”

McKean’s efforts to encourage students are apparent to those who cross the street daily. She often greets students by saying ‘have a marvelous Monday’, ‘a wonderful Wednesday’ or ‘a fantastic Friday’.

“She’s super friendly and she is always very nice to all of us,” freshman Ella Rajala said. “She’s so full of energy, and she seems to really like what she does, and that’s unusual for crossing guards.”

Sophomore Nicole Gorostiza echoed the same sentiments about McKean.

“I think she’s really nice,” she said. “She always compliments me on my outfit and says really nice things. I think she’s a really good crossing guard.”

Being a crossing guard is more difficult than simply allowing student to cross the street; McKean is responsible for the safety of all the students.

“I think […] I need to educate some of the parents. They don’t know when they’re supposed to go, when they’re not supposed to go,” she said. “And I absolutely hate it when someone comes through that crosswalk and I’ve got kids already coming through. That’s a very scary thing for me.” 

Nevertheless, McKean loves being a crossing guard. In the past, she took some time off to work a housekeeping job that paid better, but returned to being a crossing guard when she realized she loved the job.

“I took a little bit of a break thinking that if I made more money and had more hours everything would be great,” she said. “But it wasn’t. I missed everyone too much, so I wanted to come back.”

To McKean, money is not as important as working a job that she loves. Most crossing guards are paid for four-hour shifts, of which they typically only work two hours. However, because Foothill’s schedule is unique, the crossing guard at Foothill works almost the full four-hour shift. Despite the longer hours, McKean specifically requested to work at Foothill.

“I’m really glad to be back at Foothill. I told them I wanted to come back to this spot,” she said. “This spot, nobody wants because [at most other spots] you get paid for four hours and only work two. [So] you could be somewhere else earning free money. But it’s not about the money for me, it’s totally about you kids.”

Featured Photo Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

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