You may have seen him walking the halls at our school or driving through the loop at Charles McDaniel Park. If you’ve ever had the occasion of driving past the school at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m., you may have seen his and several other squad cars responding to an alarm at school. However, most of us are used to seeing him patrol, manage, and direct our carpool line at Lower Campus on school day mornings and afternoons, as well as afternoons at Upper Campus.
When you see someone everyday, curiosity can’t help but take the wheel. Where are they from? How did they get here? I decided I would interview Cpl. Bollinger as the first person in our series of “Who’s Who? at GLOBE.”
Corporal Mark Bollinger is a native Atlantan who grew up in the Echo Woods community. “I grew up in this neighborhood. I went here when it was the Heritage School and went to Lakeside High School. My family still lives nearby.”
When asked how he got into this line of work, he explained: “Well, I did six years in the Marine Corps [Semper Fi-!]. There aren’t too many lines of work that correspond to what you learn in the Marine Corps, so I went and got my bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and joined the police force. I started out with APD, but you have to move around in order to promote. I’m now with Avondale Estates Police Department and am also a Dekalb County Sheriff’s Deputy.”
We talked about Cpl. Bollinger’s morning and afternoon watches at our school. I know that Cpl. Bollinger is well liked by the families here and I told him that I thought he’d be missed if he ever got reassigned to another school.
“Well, what a lot of parents don’t understand is that I was hired by GLOBE to do this for the school. Because GLOBE is a charter school, it pays for me to do this…so when I’m done working the night shift on the south side, I come here and work the carpool line.”
“So, GLOBE is paying for a policeman to work security for our school?”, I asked.
“That’s right. Other schools like Lakeside High can call the county and have someone assigned to that duty at no additional cost…all of the public schools can, but so many choose not to. I have a lot of respect for GLOBE for going to this extent to ensure the safety of their students and families.
And most people think I’m here to just direct traffic. You’ll see me walking the halls on some days. If it’s a slow night at work, I’ll park my car at McDaniel Park because I know there are incidents of kids leaving beer bottles and trash at the park.”“I’d hate to be those kids on a night when you walk out of the bushes!”, I laughed.
Cpl. Bollinger laughingly agreed, and said, “You know, kids are going to be kids. I talk to them and try to educate them about why they shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff, and once the word gets out that a cop sometimes sits in McDaniel Park at night, they find another place to do it. GLOBE used to have trouble with break-ins and vandalism. I’m proud to say that in the three years that I’ve worked for GLOBE there haven’t been any security incidents.”
“And having grown up here and still having family in the area, it probably feels right working this duty?”, I asked. “Yeah! And you know what, I really like working at GLOBE. Some mornings, I’m so tired after the night shift and I just want to go home and sleep, but then I get here - the kids like me, the families are happy to see me – I wake up, I don’t feel tired anymore, and I’m glad I came here.”
I had to let Cpl. Bollinger go so he could get some sleep before the afternoon carpool shift but couldn’t help but ask him one last question: “Cpl. Bollinger, you’ve heard of the #lipsyncchallege, right?” “Yeah, I’ve heard of it.”“If GLOBE asked you to participate in one for our school, would you?”
“Ha, ha [long pause, but with a smile] I’d have to think looong and hard about it,” he answered.
Who will take on the task of a GLOBE #lipsyncchallenge this fall?
Written by Michele Noma of Oak Tree Creative Studio. Michele is a GLOBE parent. She takes school pictures, loves gadgets + coffee, and is considered a writing style dinosaur for still using two spaces after a period.