Churchville NY June 15, 2023 Another school year is wrapping up where safety has been a top priority.
It takes a team to keep students safe, and people like Thomas Campopiano are known for his lasting efforts.
He starts every morning by meeting the kids at the bus loop.
Thomas Campopiano is a security officer at Churchville-Chili High School who’s often speaking over the school’s PA system, hosting clubs, being a fan at students sports games, and singing at early morning bus arrival
‘‘I love to greet the kids. I love to see their faces. I enjoy it, really to be honest with you, having fun with them.
You know, we’re not just security. We’re part of the family with the kids.’’ Campopiano said.
He wants to be someone kids can confide in, and someone parents can trust.
‘‘There will be kids who come off the buss, kids that come shake my hand, give me a hug. I probably hugged 1,000 kids. You know? That’s why I never get sick. I shake everybody’s hand, hug everybody,’ he explained.
‘‘What better privilege and honor it is when parents drop off their most precious thing, their sons and daughters. They expect me to be the type of man to lead them by example, to be a man of integrity and honor. That’s an honor! They trust me enough and know that I’ll protect their child and be an example for them. They know Mr. C’s there for them and all our staff are there for them too. We’re there for their protection and safety, and a parent can take solace in knowing that.’’
He goes by Mr. C. to the kids. Each student are prioritizes just like they were his own.
‘‘I love when the kids don’t even react. They just walk by like, ‘what’s this guy doing?’ You know? ‘What a weirdo!’ You know what? I love that. They just walk by me like nothing’s going on, you know why? Because they know who I am. And I get a blessing out of that,’’ Campopiano said.
After almost two decades at Churchville-Chili, he said he understands his students and their struggles, especially after the lack of interaction students had throughout the pandemic.
‘‘It just doesn’t begin here. It’s some of the issues they bring, whether it’s home or whether it’s relationships, or whether it’s social media. They come in sometimes discouraged, despondent, you know, and that’s one of the reasons why I greet them too. I like to see where they’re at mentally,” he said.
Campopiano says that he is able to get a read on each of the students as soon as they step foot off of the bus so he can keep a smile on their faces throughout the day.
‘‘We’re all wanting to make things right for the students. That’s what I got a kick out of. My best time with them was when they were having troubles. I’d walk with them, I’d sit down with them, and I talk with them,’’ Campopiano said. ‘‘The beautiful thing about it is this world can be so chaotic, but yet, that’s reality. There’s good in all of us. There’s good and they want to be loved.’’
“Mr. C” said he loves being a part of their lives.
‘‘No matter if they’re having a bad day, our best interest is to make sure they’re successful,” Campopiano said. “And when I see them graduate across that stage, I feel like I was part of it to make their lives for all those years. I feel so proud that I was a part of their lives.’