JACKIE Brown’s smiling face is one of the first that students attending The Junction Public School over the past 30 years have seen each morning.
As the crossing supervisor or lollypop lady stationed on Union Street, Mrs Brown has helped thousands of students – including two generations of some families and others who have become teachers at the school – traverse the road safely, through rain, hail, magpie attacks and the 2009 red dust storm.
“You get to know all the kids, from when they ask ‘Are you going to be here when I come here next year?’ to when they’re in year six and through to high school when they come back to see you,” Mrs Brown said. “You always get the child that had a fight with Mum because she said no or they didn’t eat something. They’ll be pouting and might have a little cry and so you talk to them for a little while and they usually come good.
“The saddest one was some children who were howling their little eyes out. They had just found out their mother had cancer and were pretty upset.”
Mrs Brown’s involvement with her husband Don’s former school started in 1973, when she enrolled the eldest of their four children. She volunteered on the crossing until 1986, when it became an official role the police oversaw paying $2 an hour. Mrs Brown said every year started with taking the kindergarten classes on a road safety lesson and ended with throwing lollypops into the air to rain down on outgoing year six children.
She said she became “very emotional” when she was farewelled at an assembly this week. “I’m going to miss the kids, seeing them grow and develop into who they are – they’re delightful.”