By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mother's Day 2021: Protecting kids just part of the job for this mom
Richmond Hill High School crossing guard Sybil White.
Richmond Hill High School crossing guard Sybil White. Photo by Hollie Lewis.

Mother’s Day is an international holiday honoring motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society.

Richmond Hill High School’s crossing guard, Sybil White is a mother of three who has been influential in helping students safely cross the street at a key location on Harris Trail for 17 years.

“When I first started this job I told myself that I can’t stop and go at this. Children do good when you stay with them. It’s going to be cold, you have to stay. It’s going to be hot, you have to stay. It’s going to rain, you have to stay.” said White.

While growing up in Long Island, New York, White had plans to become a professional singer and musical theatre performer. She had no idea that she would eventually land a more significant role in public safety.

“Nothing really led me to public safety, it was just something I felt I wanted to do and then it became a joy. It led me to the students and making sure they are safe. It became more than just a job, it became a joy.”

Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Mickey Bayens said, “Richmond Hill High School is extremely fortunate to have Ms. Sybil White’s services both in the morning and afternoon as a dedicated crossing guard as she truly takes great pride in the safety of ‘all her kids."

Although White has a daughter who is a police officer for the city of Savannah and two sons, one a Warrant Officer in the U.S. Army and the other an entrepreneur, she also sees the students that she helps cross Harris Trail as her children.

“I always see them as my own kids. I’m mom out here, I tell them. It’s like the ducklings that follow their mother. That’s how I feel as they follow behind me as I’m crossing them.”

She continued, “When they come to school, I don’t know what they went through when they left their home. But when they come to this cross stop to cross the street, I want them to feel the joy and the love. I don’t know what happened in school that day. But when they come back across that street, I want them to feel the joy and the love.”

White has been safely helping Richmond Hill High School senior Malachi James cross the street since his freshman year.

“She always walks out crossing the street first before any student and once she gets about halfway across the street she holds up the sign to make sure all of the cars stop. She greets us or tells us to have a nice day. Being the nice person that she is, I always tell her thank you and you as well,” James said.

“Ms. Sybil is like clockwork and has a work ethic second to none as she is prompt, courteous, and professional to all she encounters whether it is the students crossing the street or drivers navigating Harris Trail,” said Bayens.

White’s services have been so influential that not only have many former Richmond Hill High School students come back to tell her hello and what they are doing in life and parents have also stopped to thank her.

“It’s surprising and it’s an honor. The other day a student asked me what type of gummies I like. Her mom gave me a card and gummies to thank me.”

Although James will be continuing his education at an art college, he is very thankful for all of the students White has served. Concerning rising 9th graders who will be crossing Harris Trail before and after school for the first time next fall, James said, “They are in good hands.”.

Richmond Hill resident Carla Barnett considers Whites work necessary.

“I think it’s something that is needed. It makes the kids feel safer. The traffic going that way, if there wasn’t anybody there I think somebody might have an accident with the kids trying to get across the street,” Barnett said.

Although White has been keeping high school students safe for over a decade, she knows that she can’t do the job effectively without support.

“I’m so grateful to have the police officers out here with me directing traffic and monitoring the speed of cars and to have Mr. Bayens out here in the mornings with me helping to direct cars. It gives me more time to concentrate on getting the student’s safely across the street.”

See another Mother's Day 2021 story here.

Sign up for our E-Newsletters