The first and last person dozens of Sunset Park Center for Accelerated Studies students see on their way to and from school each day is “Miss Jackie.”
“I tell them, ‘Once I get my eyesight on you, you’re my responsibility,’” Jacqueline Bracey said.
She’s a crossing guard – a rare find in schools these days. In most schools, a teacher or administrator steps out to protect students from traffic as they cross the street. But at Sunset Park, they’ve got Miss Jackie.
Bracey, 48, who has been on the job for two years, started after the former crossing guard recommended her for the job. Bracey helps with the children’s ministry for her church, is well-known among her neighborhood’s children and has 12 grandchildren.
For her, it was a natural fit to help the area students get to school safely.
“I love to work with kids,” she said. “They have so much joy.”
Many of the students even call her “Grandma,” since two of her own grandchildren go to Sunset Park.
When her crossing guard duties are over each afternoon, Bracey goes home to the same neighborhood where many Sunset Park students live and watches them get all the way to their homes, just to make sure they make it safely.
But her favorite time of the day is the morning, when she gets a chance to interact more with the students. Sometimes they ask to help her and she lets them hold her stop sign to help others cross safely.
Even when there’s extreme weather, Bracey said, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
“I wouldn’t give up nothing for it,” she said. “I love it.”
The S.C. Department of Transportation declared this week as the state’s first “Crossing Guard Appreciation Week” to recognize crossing guards and their role in student safety.
Bracey didn’t know the week had been set aside to appreciate what she does, but she’s glad there is such a thing.