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Remembering beloved crossing guard


Cedar Bluff Primary and Intermediate schools have lost Bonnie Hutchinson, a crossing guard who some said had been a positive fixture at the school.

“For years she worked at our primary school. [She] helped open car doors and that kind of thing for our little kids, and once we started construction on our new school they moved her out to Cedar Bluff Road as a crossing guard,” Sandra Rowcliffe, PTSA president, said of Hutchinson, who died recently of cancer. “Really a crossing guard’s job is to cross kids at the crosswalk, not to get out in the middle of the road and direct traffic; Bonnie was out there directing traffic every morning, and she was over 80 years old.”

Hutchinson had hernia surgery this past spring, but was able to finish out last school year and was planning on returning this past August.

“She had been ill; she’d had the surgery and she had some bouts of cancer over the years, and that resurfaced over the last several months. I think that’s what took her from us,” Rowcliffe said.

Rather than focus on her absence, several members of the Cedar Bluff schools family are celebrating Hutchinson’s contribution to the community.

“She was a wonderful lady,” third-grade teacher, Angie Bataille, said. “She’d make us smile every time we saw her; she always had something funny to say. The kids just adored her. She was a special person – one of a kind. … I think there are angels among us. They come and go through our lives. Bonnie was one of those angels. I will miss her spunk. I will miss her waving me into school every morning with a smile on her face.”

She added, “She appreciated everything; sometimes I’d take coffee and doughnuts out to her in the morning, and she thought it was the greatest thing that somebody had thought about her. It was always from the student council, and I always had a couple of student council members go with me to bring them to her. She’d just give them hugs and always had sweet things to say to them. She was just a precious person.”

Susan Davis, principal at CBIS, said, “Bonnie was such a positive force on our campus. She was dependable; she loved her job. She took it very seriously. … I think in a world where people are not positive and resent their jobs sometimes, she sure enjoyed hers. She enjoyed the children and the camaraderie. It didn’t matter if it was with the bus drivers, me or the teachers.”

Davis said she believed the children enjoyed Hutchinson’s presence as much as the adults did.

“I think the students looked at her as a very positive adult in their life. She was always smiling at them, always speaking to them, always making them feel secure and safe. She was such a permanent fixture that they really knew her, and not just the kids she crossed. She would always come up onto the campus too, because she always came early and stayed late. She knew lots of the children,” she added.

“She knew our safety patrol students, who are great students in their own right. They do so much for the school in taking on that leadership role. They formed this bond with her. They would ask her if she needed anything; she would ask them if they needed anything. She would give them ideas about things. … She would stay in the office for a little while, see all the kids and talk to a lot of them. They really seemed to enjoy her.”

Bataille agreed.

“When she was in the hospital last spring, my kids in the student council made her cards. When I took them to her she had me sit on the bed, and she had to look at every single card. It tickled her to death; for the kids to take the time meant so much to her. She was all about the kids.”

Several students have noticed Hutchinson’s absence, Davis said.

“I was hesitant to say things about her death for fear of upsetting some of the kids, but I’ve heard several children ask where Ms. Bonnie is. I tell them individually that we lost Ms. Bonnie, that she passed away but had lived a wonderful life, that kind of thing,” she added.

Davis wasn’t sure how long Hutchinson worked at the Cedar Bluff schools, but said, “I went to her memorial service, and I think they said she’d served something like 20 years on the force [though not all at Cedar Bluff].”

 

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