WHITE CITY, Ore. — A new crossing guard at a White City elementary school is catching eyes and making friends in the community, using his unique form of directing traffic.
Although being a crossing guard is a serious job, Mario Arenas is keeping people safe and having fun at the same time.
“I’ve always loved working with kids, so it’s sort of a dream job if you want to call it a job, I have fun with it from the moment I get here until I leave,” said Arenas.
He started at Table Rock Elementary School as an instructional assistant just 7 weeks ago.
Arenas works several different small jobs around campus, but he’s becoming quite popular as the school’s new crossing guard.
“One of the areas we needed support was the crosswalk in the morning, so we asked him one day to do it, gave him directions and responsibilities, and then one day I looked out there, and he was dancing. I said to the staff, ‘Is he dancing?’ and they said ‘Yes.’ I watched him out there and it was great,” said principal Valerie Shehorn.
Shehorn says students and parents love seeing ‘Mr. Mario’ as he’s called, every morning.
“To have such a positive greeter on the corner, not only in crosswalk duty but really welcoming our Tiger community to school has been wonderful,” said Shehorn.
Arenas shows up to work in different outfits every day, but he says they aren’t costumes, “They’re really not costumes because I wear them off-duty, I just have them and I like having fun.”
He even goes the extra mile on holidays.
“If there’s a holiday, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, whatever it may be, Halloween, Christmas – I will have an outfit for it,” he said.
Principal Shehorn says the school bought him his Table Rock Elementary sign because of his enthusiasm, adding that ‘Mr. Mario’ has become a part of the school’s culture this year.
“It’s something I don’t see going anyway anytime soon,” said Principal Shehorn.
NBC5 News reporter Mariah Mills is a Medford native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism. She also minored in sociology.
In school, she covered Oregon athletics for the student-run television station, Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, she’s reading, hiking and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Oregon Ducks.