May 6, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
Well-loved Hingham Public Schools crossing guard Rosie Chirillo, who has been on the job for nearly four decades, was recently named one of the top five finalists in the first-ever Massachusetts Safe Routes to School's Crossing Guard of the Year award from among 170 nominees across the state.
This comes as no surprise to those who have known and loved Rosie and benefitted from being under her watchful eye as she directed traffic or assisted students trying to cross the busy street.
"The overall goal is to draw attention to and honor the hard work of crossing guards across Massachusetts and to recognize those crossing guards who go above and beyond," Judi Riley of MassDOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation) Communications shared with the Hingham Anchor.
School Committee Chair Kerry Ni praised Chirillo for her efforts over many years. "We are so excited for and proud of Rosie for receiving this well-deserved honor. She plays a vital role in keeping our students safe and our traffic moving. We thank her for her dedication and service to our schools and our town!"
The contest was open to all Massachusetts elementary and middle schools that are Safe Routes to School Partners, including Hingham.
The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Program is geared toward increasing safe biking and walking among elementary and middle school students through a collaborative, community-focused approach.
Nominations came from members of the community and the schools. Those who submitted nominations were asked to submit photos and to answer two questions: "What do you appreciate about your crossing guard(s)" and "How has he or she gone above and beyond for students and the school community?"
Finalists were chosen by the Massachusetts Safe Routes to School Team. Selection criteria included stories of dedication, safety, and commitment to students and the community within and outside of their crossing guard duties.
"Crossing guards play an important role supporting our families’ safety as they access schools and neighborhoods across the Commonwealth," Riley said.
The crossing guard appreciation campaign began with a crossing guard of the year nomination process, followed by Crossing Guard Appreciation Day in March and culminating in the announcement of the Crossing Guard(s) of the Year award winners at the live Zoom Annual Safe Routes to School Awards Ceremony in June.
"This is great news and well-deserved," Supt. of Schools Paul Austin said.
When asked in an earlier Hingham Anchor "Humans of Hingham" column, "If you had a different career, what would it be?" Chirillo responded without hesitation, "It wouldn’t be. It would never be another career! This is the best career for me. I love it.”
Good luck, Rosie!