Crossing guards are unsung heroes keeping our students safe from harm on their way to school, but one local guard takes the job to another level and brings smiles to kids’ faces with her unmatched energy every day in a story that’s Positively Central Coast.
The corner of 8th and Old County Road in Templeton is your typical school intersection.
“It’s my corner, okay?” said Vicki Zimmerman, a crossing guard for the Templeton School District, with a smile.
Vicki takes her job with the district as serious as you’ll ever see.
“The kids are important. They’re going to be our future. I need to make sure they get to school safely,” said Vicki.
But Vicki is no ordinary crossing guard; she does it with an infectious smile, waving at every truck, car, and even motorcycle that drives by. But what catches the attention of crossing kids more than her happy go lucky attitude is what she wears.
”It’s an extension of me. My kids think I’m crazy, but whatever,” laughed Vicki.
Colorful leggings and a headband to match, Vicki posts her outfits on the Templeton Proud Facebook page nearly every day. Her get-up has become a staple of the intersection before and after school.
“One day, I forgot one and somebody said, ‘Are you okay?’ And I go, ‘Why?’ ‘You don’t have a headband on.’ It was like a panic attack,” said Vicki. “How could I walk out of the house without one on?”
She’s been a crossing guard for 4.5 years but keeping kids safe walking to and from school is a family bloodline; Vicki’s mom, Dorothy, patrolled crosswalks in the district for more than five years before she passed in 2006. A cart with a speedometer on Old County Road was dedicated in her name.
Vicki may not know all the names of every kiddo crossing the street, but she has a simple motto.
“Love and happiness. You gotta have it these days. You have to show your families, whether that’s in your household or your extended families, how important they are to you and how important life is to you. You’re here for them,” said Vicki.
“You could be driving by and having the worst day, and Vicki will just brighten your day,” said Renee Argain, a principal for Templeton Elementary School. “Our community loves her. They adore her, they look forward to seeing her, and she’s just a ray of sunshine.”
“I don’t look at this as a job, I look at it as a blessing,” said Vicki. “God has given it to me so I can watch over these dumplings and munchkins and kiddos. They’re in my heart. They always will be.”