After hearing "Code Yellow" announced over the intercom — custodial shorthand for a spill in the gymnasium — Roland Briere rushed to the scene and was greeted by 500 cheering students and staff, the story stated.
Briere said: "What a surprise. This has always been a family, not just a staff, here."
After driving a school bus for 15 years, Briere shifted gears and began working at Killingly Central in 1986, eventually rising to head custodian — the same job his father held when the building opened in 1957, the story noted.
According to the story, preparation for last week''s event, which included songs and cake to provide Briere with a happy retirement send-off, involved convincing 500 students — two of them Briere’s grandchildren — to keep the surprise party a secret.
Briere, often referred to by staff as the patriarch of the school, is a modest man who has a magic touch when it comes to cleaning and maintaining Killingly Central, the story added.
According to the article, Briere is set to retire on November 1, 2009.