“Good morning, where’s the smile? Who’s ready for school?”
Every morning, the students at Sutter Elementary School on Forbes Avenue are greeted by the smiling face of crossing guard Carl Smith. Every school day, rain or shine, Smith is out there trading fist bumps with students and parents alike. He’s always smiling and always trying to get a smile in return.
“My daughter is a grump in the morning and he gets her smiling with a fist bump,” said Alyssa, a parent at Sutter. “He’s just really sweet; patient.”
“One of the first things the kids see is his smile every day,” said Sutter Principal Michael Fong. “In the morning when they come in they see his smile. He has such a positive aura about him and it spreads to the kids when they come onto the school. He really does keep our kids safe every morning.”
It’s because of that infectious smile that Smith finished tenth among the 170 crossing guards nationwide nominated for the Safe Kids Worldwide’s America’s Favorite Crossing Guard competition. Smith was honored for his award by the Santa Clara Unified School District School Board on April 11 and by the entire student body at Sutter Elementary School on April 12.
There were also a few special guests at Sutter Elementary School to congratulate him.
“I’m just extremely proud and honored that he is associated with us as a department,” Santa Clara Police Chief Mike Sellers told the student body during the presentation. “Thank you very much for honoring him. Thank you very much for voting for him and supporting him and I really appreciate it. That’s why we love the City of Santa Clara.”
Two representatives from Safe Kids were there to present Smith with a gold crossing guard’s stop sign and a gift card.
Smith says while he’s not allowed to use the gold stop sign at work, he’s very proud of it. He plans to put it somewhere in his house where all his friends can see it.
“I can’t even explain it. It’s overwhelming; so humbling. It’s something unexpected,” said Smith. “It’s just a proud moment, definitely. It’s motivated me to come to work even more with a positive attitude. I really enjoy my job, but this adds to it I think; a little special spark. To know that they voted for me and they nominated me, it’s just a perfect gesture.”
Smith has worked as a crossing guard at Sutter for two school years and he expects to be back again in the fall. He also helps with traffic control at Levi’s Stadium.
“There’s just something special about [Sutter],” said Smith. “I’m more comfortable here, they know me. I have a relationship and I don’t want to lose any of those. I just want to add to it. Make it grow.”