Not everybody knows Willie Mae Kirksey’s name, but they instantly recognize her warm smile and distinctive wave as she greets parents, students and teachers as they make their way each morning to Selma Middle C.H.A.T. Academy.
The crossing guard says her goal each morning is to brighten up everyone’s day and to inspire positive attitudes.
It is something Kirksey has been doing for the past 25 years and is showing no signs of stopping.
Kirksey has spent the majority of her career at the corner of Lapsley Street and L.L. Anderson Avenue directing traffic and ensuring students make their way safely across the intersection.
As she celebrates her many years on the job, Kirksey reflects on the changes she has seen over time.
The students she worked with at the beginning of her career now have children of their own.
Being a crossing guard is not an easy job. Employed by the Selma Police Department, Kirksey and the other guards have to stand outside in every weather condition.
They are also called upon to help out at major events such as Market Day, the Battle of Selma re-enactment, and the Spring Pilgrimage.
Kirksey said part of the reason why she has done her job for so long is because she finds ways to enjoy it.
Kirksey is also glad to be there when she sees students running late for class. She said there have been numerous times when she signed in children at the school office.
Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. James Carter said he applauds Kirksey for her years of service to the boys and girls at his schools.
Selma Police Chief Robert Green said he found it hard to believe that someone had been a crossing guard for such a long time.
Warren Hinson, Selma Police public information officer, said she has enjoyed Kirksey’s warm personality.
In her free time Kirksey sings in Selma’s oldest gospel group, the S&B Gospel Singers, and fishes every chance she gets.
Or maybe they could just wave and smile back each time they drop their children off at school.