EAST BEND — A smile, a high-five and a wish of good morning seem like very simple gestures, but at one local school, those things have become priceless.
“I can’t imagine not having him here every morning,” East Bend Elementary School teacher Lee Holowiti said of their volunteer door greeter John Tucker.
For the past three years, Tucker, a grandfather of a student at the school, has volunteered to welcome the students each morning. He returns every afternoon and assists with traffic flow as school lets out.
He also comes for every PTO meeting and open house, said Principal Lavonne Fortner.
“He’s here every day with a smile on his face,” Holowiti said. “He’s dependable and he just goes above and beyond and it’s all on a volunteer basis. He greets every staff member with a smile and a good morning and he gives every kid a high five or a fist bump, every kid.
“It’s a very positive way to start off the day,” Holowiti added.
Tucker knows the names of nearly all of the 282 students at East Bend Elementary. He also spends time chatting with parents in the afternoon as they line up to collect their child.
He brings smiles to the faces of all the children as they arrive for school each morning and the teachers rave about him as well. But Tucker is humble about his volunteer role at the school. He does it just for the joy of it.
“It just gives me pleasure to be with the kids every day,” Tucker said.
Tucker has another grandchild on the way and says he plans to continue volunteering at the school as long as he is able.
“He’s a valuable asset,” Fortner said. “We appreciate Mr. Tucker so much.”
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.