Rogue Valley man creates intersection of leisure at elementary college

WHITE CITY, Ore. – A new border guard at an elementary school in White City attracts attention with his unique way of directing traffic and makes friends in the community.

While being a cross guard is a serious job, Mario Arenas makes sure people are safe and having fun at the same time.

“I’ve always loved working with kids. So it’s kind of a dream job, if you want to call it a job. I have fun with it from the moment I’m here until I leave,” said Arenas.

He started as a teaching assistant at Table Rock Elementary School just 7 weeks ago.

Arenas works in various small jobs on campus, but is becoming increasingly popular as the school’s new border guard.

“One of the areas where we needed assistance was the morning crosswalk. So one day we asked him for instructions and responsibilities, and then one day I looked outside 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 director Valerie Shehorn.

Shehorn says students and parents love to be, ‘Mr. Mario, as he is called, every morning.

“It was wonderful to have such a positive greeter on the corner, not only on cross-walk duty but also to really welcome our tiger community to school,” said Shehorn.

Arenas shows up every day to work in different outfits, but he says they are not costumes. “They really aren’t costumes because I wear them off duty, I just have them and I like to have fun.”

He even goes a step further during the holidays.

“If there’s a holiday, Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day, whatever it is, Halloween, Christmas – I’ll have an outfit for it,” he said.

Prinicpal Shehorn says the school bought him his Table Rock Elementary sign because of his enthusiasm, adding, “Mr. Mario ‘has become part of the school culture this year.

“It’s something I don’t see anytime soon,” said Director Shehorn.

NBC5 news reporter Mariah Mills is from Medford. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She also studied sociology.

At school, she reported on Oregon athletics for the student-run Duck TV. When she’s not reporting, reading, hiking, and rooting for her favorite teams, the Seattle Seahawks and Oregon Ducks.

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