Chicago’s dancing crossing guard wins CPS Guard Of The Year award

A person wearing a yellow safety jacket and hat and holding a stop sign waves and stands in the middle of the street.
Tammy Anderson, a crossing guard at Beasley Academic Center in Washington Park, dances in the street, waves at and guides passing cars outside the school Apr. 28, 2022. (Enrique Reyes/Block Club Chicago)

This story originally appeared in Block Club Chicago.

Chicago’s dancing crossing guard has won Chicago Public Schools’ Crossing Guard of the Year award.

Tammy Anderson will be one of four crossing guards honored at a ceremony Thursday. The Beasley Academic Center crossing guard has been escorting students safely to the school at 5255 S. State St. for eight years, amassing a number of fans along the way with her megawatt smile and dance moves.

Anderson found out about the honor on her birthday last month, when Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) surprised her while she was on duty with a personal letter from Mayor Brandon Johnson.

“I didn’t even know who she was. She was walking towards me, so I held up the ‘stop’ sign like we’re supposed to do when someone you don’t know is walking up on you,” Anderson said. “But then she introduces herself and hands me the letter. It was the best birthday present.”

Anderson has become a fixture of Washington Park, as she’s frequently seen directing traffic near the school while dancing, flashing her kilowatt smile, and waving and talking to drivers and commuters as they pass by.

The crossing guard went viral in 2022, when video circulated showing her joyful personality. Two years later, Anderson’s popularity has continued to grow, from being featured in Black History Month television segments to making cameos in the Welcome to Chicago presentation playing at Flyover, Navy Pier’s newest attraction.

And the commuters are still driving past the school to get a piece of the sunshine, still honking and waving as they pass. lt’s still one of the best parts of the job for Anderson, she said.

Now, the mom is preparing for the high school graduation of her youngest child, who will attend Georgia State University in the fall.

“She’s going to study software engineering, and she’s already been interning at LinkedIn. My goddaughter will be going there, too. I’m so proud of them,” Anderson said.

What’s next for the beloved crossing guard?

“Maybe I’ll write my life story,” Anderson said. “I think it’s time.”

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