From Chip to Dale

Dale Downen leaves a note for a student who parked illegally. Downen is replacing Chip Gorman as parking lot security. PHOTO / MADELINE TEW

   Speeding cars, near accidents, and illegal parking. These are the concerns of Seaholm security officer Dale Downen.

   Previously, Chip Gorman served as a parking lot security staffer. Now the Seaholm parking lot has the watchful eye of Downen.

   As he sits in his blue van, Downen makes sure all is right in the student lot. From his perspective, he’d like to see students ease up on the accelerator.

   “I think students need to take a little more time,” Downen said, “just to be careful so no one gets hurt.”

   Downen doesn’t only watch the parking lot. He also secures the safety inside the Seaholm building.

   On a regular basis, Downen spends the majority of his day policing the student and teacher parking lot. From time to time, he’ll assist within the halls of Seaholm itself.

   “I check out the building too,” said Downen. “I help Josh, the hall monitor, whenever he needs it.”

   Student drivers find Downen to be a positive influence on the school.

   “He’s really stern,” senior Katie Rankin said. “He makes sure nothing wrong is happening in the student lot.”

   Senior Chris Stanley talked cars with Downen the first time they met.

   “I was sitting in my car one time,” said Stanley, “and he started telling me about back in the day when he and his friends would make their cars fast.”

   Downen is slowly, yet easily, making his transition into the job.

   “He’s still the new guy,” Stanley said. “Once he gets used to everything it’ll be a different story.”

   Yet, this isn’t Downen’s first year at this school. He first started working at Seaholm back in May as a replacement for the daily custodian. Downen then heard of a permanent job as Security.

   “He was our head day custodian last year,” Assistant Principal Deb Boyer said. “He simply asked me if I would be open to have him interview for the position and I said absolutely.”

   The position had a few other prospects that came to the interview, but it was an easy decision once Downen interviewed for the spot, according to Boyer.

   “He really was the best person suited for that position,” said Boyer. “Mr. Downen has raised his own children and he’s just a nice person.”

   Some of the problems, such as illegal parking, are things Downen wants to be fixed. It seems that the illegal parkers have no other choice.

   “The passes were oversold on the internet,” Downen said. “But I think the administration is trying to come up with a solution, maybe letting kids park in the teacher lot.”

   Securing the safety of students has proved to be second nature for Downen. His goal is to make the school a safer place while still sending positive vibes throughout Seaholm.

   “He’s a cool guy, he says ‘hi’ to me all the time,” says Stanley.

   In addition to being friendly, Downen makes it clear student safety is his top priority.

   “Students really need to slow down or someone’s going to get in an accident,” Downen said. “I don’t want to see anyone get hurt.”

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