School honors older school crossing guard with farewell party

Most of us remember the fixtures in our schools from our childhood. Sometimes it’s a teacher. Sometimes it’s a janitor or cook. And in the case of this elementary school in Abington, Pennsylvania, it’s an 89-year-old school crossing guard.

Retirement from working life

A school crossing guard hugs a child

Dorothy “Miss Dottie” Kalkbrenner retires after 47 years


Dorothy “Miss Dottie” Kalkbrenner has helped thousands of children cross the street in her 47-year career as a school crossing guard at Highland Elementary School. She started the job nearly five decades ago when she decided to try something new, and she has enjoyed helping children get to school safely ever since.

“The traffic is terrible; it gets heavier every time. But most people follow my sign when I have it with me, so it’s not that bad,” she said WPVI-TV.

But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. So Kalkbrenner, at the age of 89, decided that this would be her last year at school. After all, she will be 90 this summer.

“It’s time for me to retire and do something where I live,” she told the publication. “I’ve enjoyed it so much and I’m going to miss it, I’m going to miss all the kids… It almost makes you cry because you’ll never see them again.”

A surprising farewell

During her final week last June, the school’s staff and students decided to throw the beloved character a proper farewell party. They showered her with handmade cards, and the Abington community even presented her with an award for her years of service.

Kalkbrenner added that she would miss the children and that she never really realized how many there were until she saw so many faces at the party that day.

“I’m so grateful that Highland School did this for me,” she told the news agency. “It was just overwhelming… the auditorium is so full with all the kids. It was incredible.”

Make a difference

Miss Dottie is proof that you don’t need a glamorous job or tons of money to make a real difference, and that when it comes to the community, you get what you put in. For nearly half a century, this woman was happy helping children cross the street and get to school safely, and when it was time to retire, she was recognized by her entire community for her years of dedication and service.

It’s a beautiful reminder for anyone searching for meaning or purpose in life. Sometimes the little things make the biggest difference in someone’s day, and you may not realize your impact until much later.

No matter what your part of the world looks like, find a way to make a small difference. That could be volunteering, taking on social impact work, or even donating a few dollars to a good cause if you have some spare change.

It’s these little things that make a collective difference and help us all live meaningful lives in the long run.

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