Tony: The Heart of L.I.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of ThumbnailTemplateDONOTSAVEOVER copy 2-2LYNDON - If you've ever driven past Lyndon Institute, chances are you've seen Tony Cucinotta, the school's crossing guard. Rain or shine, Tony is outside, greeting students and those who pass by with a smile and a thumbs up.

According to the school's marketing director Gloria Bruce, those who are able to see Tony on a regular basis are truly blessed, as a character so genuine is often hard to come by.

Tony has been with the high-school for 17 years, arriving in the Northeast Kingdom after working in the meat industry in Boston. Here he began working custodial night shifts at the school, which wasn't ideal as the hours were late and he wasn't around his favorite thing; people.

The interaction aspect of being a crossing guard is one of Tony's favorite parts of the job. "Each day is different, you know, different schedules, you don't do the same thing all the time. And just being around the kids, you know it's a joy. Where can you come to work, have fun, and get paid? It's like being a baseball player! You're doing something you love, and they pay you!"

As classes got out on Thursday afternoon, it was obvious that the students care for Tony just as much as he does for them. No matter how poorly someone's day is going, student or faculty, their day is immediately brightened once they see him.

"Kids, they even mention that, you know and say it's always so nice to come here on our days and we have a good time because of you. You know and I really do think that they mean it. Sometimes kids will say things just to say it but I can tell that they honestly mean it," he said.

The high-school is composed of 600 students, and although Tony may not be able to keep track of all of their names, he knows them all by face. "You know a lot of their names but sometimes can't think of it right off the bat, so you say hey how's it going, and then you know it. I mean 600 kids, but you know a lot of them by name, and everybody by their face. I mean everywhere I go downtown, the parents and the kids are saying hi."

Next year will be Tony's last at Lyndon Institute. After which, he and his wife will be moving to Florida, where crossing the street will be a little bit warmer. Tony said this will be the first year he'll be able to see the children of the first-generation students he worked with at the school, and that is something very special to him.

Tony is ready for the next chapter, but incredibly grateful for the job that has allowed him to work with the kids and keep them safe for all of these years.


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