Dawnee: Security Specialist


Audrey Lauer, Managing Editor

Security. What does the mind jump to? Dark uniforms. Absent emotion. Visible weapons. Society has pegged security officers as robots that feast on punishment. In the white house, this might be true. In Hollywood? Definitely. But at Peninsula High School? Not at all. It’s possible that this might have been a reality at one point, but for the last five years, it has been nonexistent. Why? Because Dawn Gossage (Dawnee), was hired as the Security Specialist in 2013. Even from the beginning, she has been different by refusing to call herself a security ‘guard’ because “It sounds too prison like.”

Besides changing her title, Dawnee has also taken it upon herself to transform the atmosphere at our school. Peninsula has been blessed with an incredible makeup of staff, but while teachers and administrators can be intimidating, Dawnee consciously makes herself a motherly and approachable figure.

Sheriff Ray Readwin stated that She helps [the students] through [trials] in a human to human way instead of security to student – she can put herself on equal ground with people”. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Dawnee is a gem here at Peninsula. As the Security Specialist, her responsibilities include maintaining a safe environment, attending to kids that need support throughout the day, and keeping students on track to graduate by providing an extra push in the right direction. However unpleasant these tasks might seem, Dawnee executes them with an intentional joy. She stands at her post with a contagious smile and offers a piece of love to any student she encounters. Her love and encouragement go far, but not nearly as much as her example. Dawnee is genuine. She is also compassionate and reliable, and she demonstrates these characteristics everyday. Students are able to build real relationships with Dawnee because when she asks how someone is doing, she cares about the answer. She listens to hardships and she celebrates victories. As Danielle O’Leary, the Dean of Students, shared “[Dawnee] can connect with the whole student – not just academics”. This is crucial because many students get lost in scores and forget that their value is based on their heart rather than their performance.

The role of Security Specialist might allow Dawnee to spread love and build relationships, but it’s not all sunshine and roses. This profession often produces gray days in that a significant portion of her schedule is filled with walking through turmoil with students. While this kind of weight might overwhelm a typical individual, Dawnee is special in that she never lets such circumstances overwhelm her ability to love. Not everyday is beautiful, but she finds beauty in every day. This is the result of what time has taught Dawnee: “Life is short and you have to grasp every minute of it. You think [life is] long but really it’s not. It could be gone in the blink of an eye and so you need to make whatever you do count because you might not ever get another chance.” Our Security Specialist makes her actions count. Whether it’s her Hawaiian flowers, gentle spirit, or daring heart, she makes a difference.