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Hidden Heroes: The story of Johnny Garcia

Foothill+Technology+High+School%E2%80%99s+%28Foothill+Tech%29+crossing+guard%2C+Johnny+Garcia%2C+devotes+his+time+to+the+safety+of+the+students.+He+spends+every+morning+and+afternoon+ensuring+that+students+cross+Day+Road+without+harm.
Audrey Yoong
Foothill Technology High School’s (Foothill Tech) crossing guard, Johnny Garcia, devotes his time to the safety of the students. He spends every morning and afternoon ensuring that students cross Day Road without harm.

The crisp morning air signals the turn of the seasons from summer to fall. All manner of footsteps, sleepy and lively, fall across the asphalt surface of Day Road as they head into Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech.) Keeping the cars at bay is a figure in a bright fluorescent vest: Johnny Garcia, the crossing guard. As he watches over students’ safety, his efforts are commonly overlooked. During the past six years that he has served the Foothill Tech community, many students claim that they have never seen him miss a single day of school. 

A Ventura native and graduate of Buena High School, Garcia had been retired for some time before getting called to action. “I thought I would help out,” he said, “This lady in my neighborhood (a crossing guard,) she goes, ‘How’d you like to be a crossing guard?’ [I] said ‘sure.’ So I’ve been doing it [here] for six years now.” Every day, he wakes up at 6:30 a.m. and is at the crosswalk by 7:45 a.m. to escort students to and fro.

Despite his solid streak at the Foothill Tech grounds, Garcia hasn’t always been here. “I started at schools over […] at Saticoy [Elementary]. But they needed me here […] instead,” he stated. The difference in students’ ages also seemed to impact his experience as a crossing guard. “I loved [it] over there with the little kids, cause they’re more adorable. Here they’re all grown-up. I don’t have to worry about them.” Garcia recalled how the elementary schoolers are often more difficult and even more dangerous to work with, “Little kids, they don’t listen. I tell them to wait, but they’re already running across the street. So I [had to] run in front of them before.” With a fond smile, he added, “They were fun to be with.”

When looking at the larger scale, there are almost nine thousand crossing guards in California, and thousands more who wish to keep us safe. Caught up in our own lives, it can be difficult to recognize those who show up every day to make ours easier. But what exactly motivates Garcia to get up at 6:30 a.m. every morning to do this? “Kids.” He stated, “You know, I want them to be safe. Make sure they’re okay. That’s my job.” Not many people would be willing to do this, but the select few who do are individuals we should respect and appreciate. 

Behind every neon vest and stop sign, there’s a story. Next time you cross a street and there is a crossing guard ensuring your safety, be sure to thank them. “[Students often] tell me ‘thank you,’ ‘good morning,’ ‘have a nice day.’” Garcia said, “And I tell them the same thing, ‘have a nice day.’”

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About the Contributors
Kalea Eggertsen, Writer
Aspiring fiction author and first-year writer who has been at it ever since she could hold a pencil.
Jane Kim, Writer
First-year writer with a passion for music, current events and science.
Sofia Patiño, Videographer
Second-year journalist and Frank Ocean enthusiast.
Audrey Yoong, Photographer
I'm a first-year photographer who loves reading, golfing and trying new restaurants.

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    chunker nutsOct 14, 2023 at 1:24 am

    this guys freakin awesome

     
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