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School crossing supervisor celebrates 40-year service milestone

Published on 19 February 2019
Carmel-black.jpg Carmel Black this year celebrates 40 years as a school crossing supervisor.

Rain, hail or shine, Carmel Black has for four decades donned her high-vis jacket and dutifully waited for her students between the red and white posts outside Yarra Road Primary School, Croydon.

Whistle and stop sign in hand, she has helped generations of students, their parents and grandparents cross the road, always with a bright and cheery smile.

Clocking up an impressive 40 years of service this month, Carmel is today one of Victoria’s longest-serving school crossing supervisors.

“It’s an important job to me, I love it, and the children I adore. I recommend it as a part-time job to anybody,” says Carmel.

The Yarra Road site school crossing was installed in 1979 following a successful two-year campaign by the school’s committee.

“In those days it was a narrow bitumen road on a steep slope, and there were only four parking spots. Parents had to literally carry their children up the steep road to get to the school safely,” she explains.

The grandmother-of-three recalls at the time offering to temporarily fill in as the school crossing supervisor until someone permanent was found.

“I volunteered to do it until the position was filled.

“I was part of the mother’s club, now known as the parents’ committee, and said I’d do it until they could find someone. I decided afterwards that I would stay on because I enjoyed it so much. My youngest had started at the school that same year [the crossing was built] and I had another daughter already at the school, and I thought I was taking them to school anyway, so why not,” she said.

Carmel credits her love of the local school community for her longevity.

“It’s a wonderful community and a lovely school. I also volunteer two days a week with students in prep and grade 2 helping with reading and word recognition. The children don’t like it when I’m not there. I’ve got so many lovely memories,” Carmel adds.

According to Carmel, the introduction of 40kmh school speed zones has created positive driver habits and improved road safety.

“I’ve had the odd driver that hasn’t obeyed the 40kmh and driven through the crossing, but for the most part drivers stick to the limit, and those who haven’t are always sorry. I’m also very fortunate that I have wonderful children, parents and grandparents that appreciate the rules of the crossing,” she said.

In 2015, Carmel received an Australia Day Community Service Award in recognition of her contribution to the local community.

Mayor Councillor Rob Steane this week congratulated Carmel Black on her significant service milestone.

“This is a remarkable achievement for someone who had initially put up her hand to help out in a gesture of goodwill and a love of her local school community.

“The Maroondah community is fortunate to have such caring and professional school crossing supervisors, like Carmel Black, who perform a vital role in keeping our community safe, and for this we are grateful,” Cr Steane said.

The City of Maroondah has 91 dedicated school crossing supervisors who oversee 74 primary and secondary school crossings, braving all sorts of weather to help pedestrians of all ages safely cross the road.

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