CINCINNATI—More than 40,000 votes have been cast by students, teachers and people across the country in the 2015 Janitor of the Year contest. If you haven’t reviewed the 10 finalists’ stories of compassion, selflessness and friendship, now is the time! There’s only one week left to cast your ballot – the polls close at midnight on Friday, May 1. Sponsored by Cintas Corporation (NASDAQ: CTAS), the contest aims to recognize those who help make our schools a cleaner, safer and healthier place.
“The positive response we’ve seen from each of these finalists’ communities has been overwhelming,” said Dave Mesko, Senior Director of Marketing, Cintas. “Loved and valued by their schools and everyone who meets them, these finalists truly represent the best-of-the-best of not only school janitors, but people as a whole across the country.”
The winner of Cintas’ Janitor of the Year contest will receive a $2,500 cash prize along with $2,500 in products and services for his or her school from Cintas and Rubbermaid Commercial Products– not to mention bragging rights.
The top 10 finalists (in alphabetical order) include:
1. Sherry Albright – Trine University (Angola, Ind.) Lovingly referred to as their “College Mom” by many students at Trine University, Sherry Albright touches many lives on campus. During her 15 years at Trine, Sherry has made time to greet everyone she meets and help them all while helping make Trine University sparkle and shine. Often seen helping out a student sew a button onto a jacket or opening a door for those who have an armful of books, Sherry always does her job with a smile on her face, exudes positivity and looks for the best in every situation and person.
2. Rick Bergum – Tahoma Senior High School (Covington, Wash.) Rick Bergum’s day is filled with the things you would expect from the head custodian at a large high school: cleaning, repairing and preparing everything from floors to HVAC equipment. He is well known by students and staff as someone who always has a smile and a kind word to exchange with any and all he encounters. He particularly enjoys working with some of the school’s special needs students, helping them acquire skills that can help them when they graduate school.
3. Kenny Bruce – Alden Road Exceptional Student Center (Jacksonville, Fla.) At Alden Road Exceptional Student Center, janitor Kenny Bruce knows every student by name. Often staying late to assist teachers and coming in early to help with bus duty, Kenny goes above and beyond with students and staff. Not only does Kenny take care of the school, but he also assists in training students with disabilities - from how to line a trash can, to learning how to assist with cleaning the cafeteria - skills Alden Road students need in order to obtain jobs in the future.
4. Les Chapman – Peach Plains Elementary School (Grand Haven, Mich.) As the only janitor at Peach Plains Elementary School, Les Chapman defies all odds and gets the entire building looking shiny and clean every day. He can fix anything, knows about everything, is always on top of things and manages to go the extra mile every time. Known as a “bright spot” and “breath of fresh air” to those who cross his path, Les is always happy to help with a smile and willing to go out of his way to help anyone in need.
5. Mack Jackson – Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet (San Diego) When everyone else is home during holiday breaks, where will you find Mack Jackson? At school feeding the classroom fish! In his 16½ years working at Washington Elementary STEAM Magnet School, Mack has gone above and beyond his duties every single day filling up balls, fixing zippers, repairing students’ shoes and much more.
6. Bobby Miller – Sharon Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.) Bobby Miller comes to work every day at Sharon Elementary School with a smile – and a song! While his specialty is Motown, “Mr. Bobby” has appeared in school productions over the years and regularly fills the school halls and lunch room with his tunes and signature dance moves.
7. Luis Cruz Rodriguez – Westminster Community Charter School (Buffalo, N.Y.) A K-8 school that serves 550 of Buffalo’s neediest children, Westminster Community Charter School has suffered its share of setbacks. When a fire destroyed several classrooms one August, Luis Cruz Rodriguez worked around the clock so classrooms were ready by the start of September. Last winter when Buffalo was hit with tremendous snow fall, Luis worked in the early hours of the morning to make sure parking lots, sidewalks and playgrounds were safe and free of snow by the time everyone arrived at school. Not even 86 inches of snow can keep Luis away from “his” student’s and staff.
8. Cedric Stroy – Carter G. Woodson Elementary (Jacksonville, Fla.) While he’s the lead school janitor at Carter G. Woodson Elementary, Cedric Stroy serves numerous roles throughout the school, including parental figure to students, mentor and sometimes cook. When students are unable to purchase school uniforms, Cedric quickly steps up and uses personal funds to buy and “donate” clothing to those students. A true lifeline to the school, Cedric makes the school a safe place for students who may not have the best conditions elsewhere.
9. Dave Terbush – Dakota Valley Elementary School (Aurora, Colo.) Cleaning up after one child can be a challenge, so you can only imagine the difficulty in keeping a school with 700 students clean! Yet Dave Terbush does this effortlessly, helping keep the halls, cafeteria, classrooms and outside facilities clean and safe for the students of Dakota Valley Elementary. Located in Colorado, winters can be a challenge when removing snow and ice from exterior sidewalks, but Dave always does it – with a smile.
10. Barbara Watson – Pinewood Elementary School (Charlotte, N.C.) For more than six years, Barbara Watson has worked at Pinewood Elementary, a title one school in Charlotte. Arriving at 4 a.m. every morning, she works tirelessly to keep the school clean. Always smiling, encouraging and never with a complaint, Barbara treats the school as her own and works to make it a place in which the students can be proud.
About Cintas Corporation:
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom supplies, first aid, safety and fire protection products and services. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.