OSZ INFLUENCER: Mr. Jim, Sunset Park Elementary crossing guard

Jim Farnham Sr. has taken true ownership of his job by creating connections the entire SPES community.

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Jim Farnham Sr. is a crossing guard at Sunset Park Elementary School. He recently was recognized by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for his contribution to keeping students safe. Megan Althouse, the testing coordinator at SPES who also is part of the school’s traffic team, said: “Mr. Jim goes above and beyond for our entire Sunset Park community. He has such a special relationship with all of our staff, students and parents. So much so that some of our little siblings bring their own handmade crossing guard stop signs with them to show him at arrival and dismissal. Jim and his wife participate in a majority of our school’s activities and invests his own time in making our school community safer.

“He has taken true ownership of his job by creating connections with our entire community,” Althouse said. “Our school would not be the same without him. His love for our school is what makes him so special to us.”

What brought you to your school?

My wife saw a sign advertising Orange County crossing guards by the Sheriff’s Office at Sunset Park Elementary School and asked me to apply. Please let me add a note: We are always looking for full and part time crossing guards. Parents and retiree should consider. If interested, call (407) 836-4082.

What do you love most about your school?

The children and their great smiles and interesting conversations every day.

What is your motivation?

The opportunity to impact theirs and my life. As a retiree, it allows me to give back some of my life experiences.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Being a part of the children’s lives and watching them grow. Many move on to upper grades but still recognize me in public. Before Thanksgiving break, a first-grader told me, “I’m going to miss you next week.”

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy watching sports, going to the movies with my wife and spending time with my family.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

My favorite was my high school teacher, Walter Milankovich. He encouraged me to go to college and developed my interest in computers.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

Truck driver, until my father convinced me that wasn’t the career for me by helping get a job at 16 working in a truck garage. I enjoy driving.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

It’s been many years since my childhood

“The Little Engine That Could” was a classic of my time

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy working in the yard and working with my hands. I enjoy listening to ’60s and country music when I’m driving.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

To eliminate cancer. As a survivor I would never want to see another person fight this terrible disease.

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton and ’60s music. I’ve always found these artists to be relaxing to listen to.

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?

A classic PBJ sandwich on mom’s homemade bread was my go-to lunch. When my parents could afford lunch at the cafeteria, I enjoyed hamburgers and fries. I’ve always loved popcorn.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Christmas — it’s a time to celebrate Jesus’ birth with family and friends.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

I had multiple friends in school, and with social media, I’m still in contact with many. Unfortunately, half my high school class has passed away.

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

My extracurricular activities were cross-country running, bowling, basketball and chorus. As a senior in high school, I was honored to receive the Outstanding Citizenship Award.


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