By Andy Sidel
There are four members of the Legend High School security team walking diligently each day to ensure the safety of the faculty, staff, and students. Members of the Legend High School community see these security professionals every day, but may not know their duties or the winding paths that each has taken to the intersection of Hilltop Road and Canterbury Parkway.
“Our group of security guards is a great team that wants to ensure a great culture of safety, and that people are put first. They do all of the dirty work and do not receive any of the accolades. From complaints to compliments, the team gets the job done in an amazing way,” said Principal Corey Wise. “They are the best team that I know.”
The four members of the Legend High School security team, Tina Kenny, Adam Beier, Chancey Cunningham, and Dan Degesualdo, agreed to share their stories of the past, present, and future.
Dan Degesualdo has known co-worker Chancey Cunningham since their days as students together at Chaparral High School. Years later, Cunningham and Degesualdo are reunited as security guards at Legend.
Degesualdo was in the Marine Corps for four years as a crewman for a Light Armored Vehicle (LAV). Degesualdo saw action in Iraq during those four years.
Before becoming one of Legend’s security guards, Degesualdo was a bartender for two years, a hardwood floor layer, and was in the Marine Corps. Currently Degesualdo owns his own firearm business, selling firearms and teaching individuals how to use them properly.
According to Degesualdo, he and Cunningham were talking one day and Cunningham mentioned that there was a job opening as a security guard at Legend High School.
For Degesualdo, keeping the school and its attendants safe is extremely important.
“I ensure that the doors are shut all the way and locked. Only allowing authorized personnel into the building creates an even safer environment for the school. Searching for drug violations is also key to protecting our students and faculty. Patrolling the halls and ensuring students are doing what they are supposed to be doing makes it easier to know where everyone is in case there is an issue with the school or with an individual,” Degesualdo said.
Degesualdo’s favorite part of the job is interacting with and getting to know the students and faculty. Having a relationship with the students and faculty makes the job easier because people can talk to Degesualdo about security issues or simply have a conversation with him.
Degesualdo enjoys spending time with his wife Molly and son Roman.
Life has been extremely busy and rewarding for Chancey Cunningham, having studied Aerospace Engineering, worked at the Ridge View Academy juvenile facility, and been an infantryman and a sergeant in the Marine Corps, and still acting as a rugby coach.
Cunningham was an infantryman and a sergeant in the Marine Corps for four years. As an infantryman, Cunningham saw frontline action.
When working for at the Ridge View Academy juvenile facility, Cunningham dealt with juveniles that performed crimes that ranged from computer hacking to being part of a gang.
After coaching at Legend for two years, Cunningham learned about the job opening from a former Legend security guard. Cunningham is in his fourth year of coaching at Legend and is in his second year as being a part of the security team. Cunningham loves to interact with the students and kids that he coaches.
“[Off of the field] my duties consist of ensuring the faculty and students’ safety. Controlling the access of people who are not students is a key component of the job. Constantly patrolling the school grounds for any type of violation is also important to keep the school as safe and secure as it can possibly be,” said Cunningham.
According to Cunningham, being responsible for 2000+ students and faculty is a challenge. Cunningham observes that a lot of people in one place means there are that many possible issues that may need to be handled. Getting to know so many people and interacting with every one of them is, according to Cunningham, a special bond to create and have.
“I considered going into the Marine Corps again. At this moment though, it would be a no for me,” Cunningham said.
When Adam Beier was working as a lacrosse Varsity-Assistant and C-team head coach, a campus security employee at ThunderRidge High School recommended to him that he apply for an opening as a security guard at Legend High School. Today, Beier is an integral member of the Legend High School security team.
Having previously worked as an asset manager, in homebuilder operations, and a division manager of a life safety/security integrator, Beier has a background in security and watching out for the lives of others.
Beier’s first job was as a courtesy clerk for Safeway when he was in high school. He eventually moved his way up to the head clerk position.
“This was where I first realized and learned how one should conduct himself in a place of work. I think the job as a clerk prepared me for all of my other jobs that involved working with people and the security of people,” said Beier.
As a division manager of a life safety/security integrator, Beier not only designed camera, access card, fire, and burglar systems, but worked with vendors for these systems and, in some cases, installed the systems himself. These individual systems have been integrated into one large system that keeps everything running smoothly.
When working as an asset manager for a private debt buyer, Beier bought consumer, student, auto, and commercial loans from companies that had not received full payment back for those loans.
With more than two thousand different personalities at Legend, it is a challenge to watch out for every single person, according to Beier, but it gets done. Not knowing what 2000 teenagers might do can be tricky, but with the right mindset, Beier knows everyone can stay safe.
Beier, in addition to the previous job experience, has educational knowledge as well as training in crisis response. Douglas County School District provided Beier with Emergency Response Crisis Management (ERCM) training when he became a part of the Legend security team. In addition, Beier has studied protective management and is well versed in the ways of handling an emergency situation.
“My favorite part of my job is building relationships with the students and faculty. It is a great feeling when everyone can work together to overcome challenges,” Beier said.
Per the encouragement of her father and uncle, Tina Kenny became interested in law enforcement and protecting people’s lives.
Kenny was a Cook County Deputy Sheriff in Chicago, IL, and was specifically assigned to the fugitive warrant department. Along with working as a Cook County Deputy Sheriff, Kenny worked for the U.S. Marshals’ Office and the Chicago Police Department.
As a part of the fugitive warrant department, Kenny was directly involved in arresting people who had outstanding warrants or escaped from prison. Kenny first worked with the Chicago Police Department and after September 11, 2001, began work for the U.S. Marshals’ Office. After spending time with the U.S. Marshals’ Office, Kenny returned to the Chicago Police Department and later began work in Cook County, IL as a deputy sheriff.
Kenny’s most memorable and frightening moment as a law enforcement agent was one day when she almost didn’t make it home. Kenny was very lucky when a intense situation arose. She was able to complete her job and get home safely.
After moving to Colorado, Kenny found the Legend security job online and decided to apply. Her background in law enforcement made her a perfect candidate for the job. As one of Legend’s newest additions to the school security team, Kenny is getting used to things around the school.
“Everyone has a different story,” said Kenny.
Being responsible for 2000+ students and faculty members is something that Kenny is used to. Kenny has experience and knowledge when it comes to situations where large groups of people need to be kept safe.
“It is no different than being responsible for a county full of people. Every single individual’s safety is important.”
Kenny has a son at the DePaul University College of Law in Chicago. She and her husband, a retired Air Force employee, live in Colorado and enjoy traveling. As a freshman in high school, Kenny traveled to Africa, China, Russia, and Rio de Janeiro. In the future, Kenny would like to return to these places again.