Ode to Wayne

Qwynn Watts

If you didn’t know, one of our very own campus security guards, Mr. Wayne Downie,  is hanging up his vest on Nov. 30.

“My mom, Melissa, has worked here for 24 years, so I’ve been coming up here since I was around the age of 6. Through that, belonging to the same church, and being a swimmer, I’ve created a relationship with Wayne. Especially when he is there to greet me every early morning going into practice impacts the start of my day,” sophomore Jessica Brusnahan said.  

Wayne first started working at Marian 25 years ago at the age of 53 as a part-time van man. He had just retired from The Douglas County Health Department after 30 years. During his time there his first 15 years consisted of being a Food Services Inspector and his second 15 consisted of being a Childhood Lead Poisoning Inspector. After his early retirement he was on the lookout for a part-time job that would keep him occupied. As he looked through the newspaper during those next few weeks he saw a Marian advertisement that read along the lines of “Searching for a part-time Van-Man.”

Mr. Wayne Downie

He jumped at that opportunity, was interviewed by former Head of School Ms. Elizabeth Kish and shortly thereafter started working here. He would drive to girls’ houses to pick them up for school and drop them back off after school. On his first day as Marian’s official Van-Man the van died around 120 and Fort street and had to be towed in! Quite a first day for Wayne it was. As his time here progressed the school phased the vans out, and he became a part of on-campus security, patrolling the lot throughout the day and ticketing cars for violations like not signing your car in at the office or having the wrong tag for the corresponding lot.

For the past three years he has come in at 5:30 a.m. to set up the lot and monitor people until 7 a.m. when the front entrance greeter comes in; then, he oversees the flow of traffic during construction with the use of the crosswalk.

He said he will miss the people he gets to work with every day, especially the confident girls themselves. “The environment at Marian encourages everyone to do their best and motivates administration to improve the facilities to make it a better place to work and learn,” Wayne said.

This makes for such a bittersweet ending, but also a new beginning for the adventures he will take on in life. “I will miss the energetic ‘good morning’ from Wayne that gives me the strength to get through every day,” junior Kelly Williams said.

He plans on spending more time with his 9-year-old grandson and going a few trips with his wife over these next coming years. Next time you see him regulating the flow of traffic or greeting you in the morning, thank him for all the hard work he has put in over his years at Marian.

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The Network is the student newspaper of Marian High School, Nebraska's only Class A College-Preparatory School for young women.

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