By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
COPPERAS COVE - Cars, students and parents moved down Courtney Lane toward Williams/Ledger and S.C. Lee Junior High School.
At the corner of Fairbanks Street and Courtney Lane awaited a school-year fixture: Laura Aguilar.
Wearing her signature yellow vest, with a stop sign in hand, Aguilar controls traffic at the school-zone intersection between 7 and 8:15 a.m. and from 3 to 4 p.m. each school day.
"Morning. How are you. Have a good day. See you later," said Aguilar, smiling to students and their parents as they crossed the street on the first day of school Monday.
"You got to cross here, sweetheart," she called out to another student who was across the street from the school.
With nearly 8,000 students attending classes across the district, many of them walk to and from school.
"Morning, I will be your crossing guard," Aguilar said to a group of students crossing the street. "You will see me every day."
Monday was Aguilar's first day on the corner, but it marked the start of her third year as a crossing guard for the Copperas Cove Independent School District. She had no problem getting back into the routine of halting traffic and even looked forward to starting her "very important job," she said. The job, of course, is about safety.
"It is really important because they are the ones that make people stop," said Mitch Wiley, a parent who walked his children to school Monday. "Sometimes people don't look out for children when they are driving."
Besides stopping traffic, Aguilar is there to protect the children. "I have to watch all the cars," she said. "I will get to know all the cars, and I will get to know all the kids."
The district has 25 crossing guards who spent several days training before school started, said Elvira McRae, CCISD's crossing guard and custodial supervisor.
The training provided crossing guards with safety measures for stopping traffic and instructed them on the importance of knowing the students. McRae said if crossing guards know their students, they might be able to help a parent find a missing child or help a student figure out the proper way home.
But for Aguilar, the job is about more than safety: "It is the kids. I love to see them smile," she said. "You get to make their day special by saying 'good morning.'"
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.