In the news: Pioneer Middle School students reciprocate kindness of local crossing guard

You tend to see an uptick in stories about kindness this time of year. But this recent article in the Orange County Register, involving local students from Tustin’s Pioneer Middle School, caught our attention.

Pioneer Middle School students with their crossing guard
Pioneer Middle School students recently organized a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of their crossing guard, Francine Petress (center). The group included (from left) Faith Aguilar, Sneha Vankayalapati, Melanie Nantha, Allyza Lugassy, Josie Wang and Nicole Chiem (not pictured).

As Susan Christian Goulding writes, Francine Petress is a beloved crossing guard in the Pioneer community, committed to keeping her young pedestrians safe. But Petress, 72, learned just how much she means to her kids after her car was totalled in an accident.

The crash, caused by another driver’s illegal u-turn, resulted in some pretty serious injuries. Yet Petress still came to work the next morning, and her biggest worry was replacing her ’97 Camry with the modest check promised by her insurance company.

That’s when a group of seventh-grade girls from Pioneer jumped into action.

We’ll leave it to Ms. Goulding to tell you what happened next.

And don’t forget to add your acts of kindness to OCDE’s running total at, or download our free app.