Parents surprise Lake in the Hills school greeter with gifts

  • Parents surprised John Brummer, a guidance counselor and greeter at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills, with presents and gift cards Friday on the last day of school before winter break. Brummer, who has been a greeter at the school for two years, has brought cheer to students and parents each morning.

    Parents surprised John Brummer, a guidance counselor and greeter at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills, with presents and gift cards Friday on the last day of school before winter break. Brummer, who has been a greeter at the school for two years, has brought cheer to students and parents each morning. Courtesy of Huntley Community School District 158

  • John Brummer, a guidance counselor at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills, has been a greeter at the school for two years and brought cheer to students and parents each morning. For that, several parents surprised him with gift cards and presents Friday as a thank-you on the last day of school before winter break.

    John Brummer, a guidance counselor at Marlowe Middle School in Lake in the Hills, has been a greeter at the school for two years and brought cheer to students and parents each morning. For that, several parents surprised him with gift cards and presents Friday as a thank-you on the last day of school before winter break. Courtesy of Huntley Community School District 158

 
 
Updated 12/19/2015 12:48 AM

The line of cars waiting to get into Marlowe Middle School's drop-off lane Friday morning was unusually long and moving much slower.

The reason was John Brummer -- a guidance counselor and greeter at the Lake in the Hills school who has brought much cheer to students and parents each morning and afternoon the past two years.

 

Several parents surprised Brummer with gifts as a thank-you on the last day of school before winter break. They hatched the plan in a Facebook group conversation and an unusually large number of parents showed up Friday to drop off their children just so they could recognize Brummer.

"I'm still overwhelmed," said Brummer, 49, of Crystal Lake. "I will be carrying this all the way through to the new year with me."

Brummer said the first parent who walked up handed him a crate saying, "Thank you for all you do. You're gonna need this."

It wasn't long before the crate was full of gifts.

Brummer has been at Marlowe since it opened 10 years ago and been a counselor with Huntley Community School District 158 for 21 years, mostly for middle schoolers.

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"He is incredible," said Superintendent John Burkey, whose son, Andrew, 12, is a seventh-grader at Marlowe. "It's a building of 1,500 kids. He knows the kids by name. He knows a lot of the parents by name. If students start the day with a smile on their face and they have a good attitude, they are just much more likely to have a successful day of learning in school."

Brummer volunteered to be on greeter duty, which has helped him put people at ease.

"It has had an enormous impact on my job, just my rapport with the students and with their parents," he said. "It's very important that people feel comfortable and trusting. It's something that you have to earn."

Brummer has different routines with each parent, whether a salute, thumbs-up or wave.

"It's just kind of taken on a life of its own," he said. "I just mirror back to people what they give me. That's where I get my energy from. Just getting to know these kids and parents ... it's fun."

Melissa Scheiblein of Huntley, whose two children have had Brummer as their counselor, wrote in a card for Brummer that "his spirit is so contagious."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"He's just got this energy about him," she said. "Especially that early in the morning, no one is that chipper. Throughout the whole day he's just got this positive, calm vibe to him."

Scheiblein said her 11-year-old son, Austin, a Marlowe sixth-grader, has been going through rough times. He has neurological issues and anxiety forcing him to miss school on occasion.

"Mr. Brummer works with him, talks with him, listens to him and hears him," she said. "He is so great at redirecting their thoughts and emotions. He will literally dance with them in his office."

Brummer exudes a zest that uplifts even parents' crabby spirits after fighting morning traffic to get their children to school, she added.

"He just communicates with the parents, and it's always just very reassuring," Scheiblein said. "I want what he is taking. Bottle it up and sell it because everybody could use a dose of it."

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