‘Positivity and joy’: Beloved school crossing guard hangs up her heels after 58 years

After nearly six decades of helping students and parents safely cross Grove Street in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a beloved school crossing guard is retiring. Judie Johnson helped Hunnewell Elementary School students get to and from classes on Tuesday, just as she has for 58 years. At the end of the half-day, she led the students on a march marking the last day of the school year. Outside, students lined up for high-fives.”She really helps me cross the street and if I’m having a bad mood, she lifts my spirits,” said Caroline Jaffe, a student.”It’s hard to imagine not having her,” said Kristin Deveney, a parent.”I think anyone who’s ever gone by that crossing area has seen a smile,” said Wellesley Public Schools Superintendent David Lussier. “She knows people by name, she has such positivity and joy.”Johnson’s farewell coincides with the decision to demolish and replace Hunnewell Elementary School.”It’s very difficult. I’ve often wondered what it would be that would make me stop doing it and I had no choice. So the school comes down, the heels come off and I’m done,” she said. But the district says this doesn’t have to be the end of her story. She’s welcome back next year, at a different crossing.”We’re hoping to see Judie maybe serve at some of our other schools,” said Lussier.Whatever the future holds, Johnson says nothing will ever be the same as her time on Grove Street.”I don’t know what else to say. It’s just been totally and completely rewarding. I’ve loved it. Every minute of it,” she said.

After nearly six decades of helping students and parents safely cross Grove Street in Wellesley, Massachusetts, a beloved school crossing guard is retiring.

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Judie Johnson helped Hunnewell Elementary School students get to and from classes on Tuesday, just as she has for 58 years. At the end of the half-day, she led the students on a march marking the last day of the school year.

Outside, students lined up for high-fives.

“She really helps me cross the street and if I’m having a bad mood, she lifts my spirits,” said Caroline Jaffe, a student.

“It’s hard to imagine not having her,” said Kristin Deveney, a parent.

“I think anyone who’s ever gone by that crossing area has seen a smile,” said Wellesley Public Schools Superintendent David Lussier. “She knows people by name, she has such positivity and joy.”

Johnson’s farewell coincides with the decision to demolish and replace Hunnewell Elementary School.

“It’s very difficult. I’ve often wondered what it would be that would make me stop doing it and I had no choice. So the school comes down, the heels come off and I’m done,” she said.

But the district says this doesn’t have to be the end of her story. She’s welcome back next year, at a different crossing.

“We’re hoping to see Judie maybe serve at some of our other schools,” said Lussier.

Whatever the future holds, Johnson says nothing will ever be the same as her time on Grove Street.

“I don’t know what else to say. It’s just been totally and completely rewarding. I’ve loved it. Every minute of it,” she said.

Contributed by local news sources

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