By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of Trustees recognized a Jefferson Elementary School crossing guard and the district’s director of food and nutrition services during a meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 14.
Winona Lake Town Marshal Joe Hawn, along with Winona Lake Police Officers Joe Bumbaugh and Phil Hawks, attended the meeting to recognize Christine Koontz.
Koontz has served as a WCS crossing guard for 11 years. Officers showed the board video footage of an incident outside of Jefferson Elementary School. In the video, while Koontz is in the roadway letting children cross a crosswalk, two motorists are shown recklessly passing a long line of vehicles waiting for the children to cross.
“She was able to usher the kids out of the crosswalk and get them out of the street safely,” said Bumbaugh. “The gentleman who did that obviously went to jail. There’s warrants out for the other person involved. (Christine) greets every student by name. She knows them all.”
Bumbaugh also said there was an incident on Dec. 13 at the same crossing in which a vehicle ran a school bus stop arm.
“Christine, again, her head always on a swivel, was able to make sure that students didn’t get in the crosswalk as the vehicle went through,” said Bumbaugh. “We greatly appreciate what you do to keep the kids safe.”
Officers presented Koontz with a plaque and framed citation recognizing her quick and heroic actions as a crossing guard.
“You are a very faithful servant,” said Hawn. “You’re an amazing person with a heart of gold.”
The board also recognized Marci Franks, director of food and nutrition services at WCS. Franks is retiring in two weeks. She began working for WCS in February 1988.
“She has led us through a pandemic seamlessly,” said Chief Financial Officer April Fitterling about Franks. “She has helped feed so many children, so many families, outside of school. Marci set up the feeding program at Lakeview when we were handing out thousands of meals a week…rain, snow, sun…she was there, her team was there and she led it so graciously.”
Franks also helped develop the Food2School Cooperative, leading to WCS becoming one of the lead co-ops in the state. The Food2School Cooperative is a group of school child nutrition professionals who work together to best help district school nutrition programs with their fiscal budgetary needs.
“I’m just truly honored and thankful for being a part of the Warsaw Schools family,” said Franks. “There’s been tremendous support throughout the years and I am truly grateful for that.”
Stacie Light has taken over Franks’ position as director of food and nutrition services. Shannon Dellinger will take over Light’s former position as assistant director of food and nutrition services.