NKN custodians

Custodians John Wheeler and Paul Short enjoying their coffee. 

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Neah-Kah-Nie High School Senior Class President Jacob Waldron and Class Representative Jett Johnston presented the gift of the class of 2020 during graduation on Aug. 14. The senior gift, given to the custodians, was a new Keurig coffee maker and janitorial carts.

Every year, the graduating class has a tradition of giving a gift from their class to the school.

“Their class chose to honor the custodians because when they polled their class, having been the victims of the first COVID-19 closure in history, they realized how much work the custodians were putting in to make sure the school was clean and safe and kept up,” Principal Heidi Buckmaster said. “They just kind of felt like they wanted to make sure they felt recognized and supported by the students.”

Waldron said the senior class had great consensus to recognize the janitorial department of their school. They work hard to keep the school and clean and safe learning environment to foster a great education for every student.

“With our year ending early, it was difficult to really finalize on everything, however, both me and Jett worked in housekeeping together in the summer of 2019,” Waldron said. “We understood that having a good caddy or janitorial cart makes work much easier and convenient.”

Buckmaster said the custodians were excited to receive their gift. John Wheeler, head custodian, was excited not to use Folgers coffee anymore. Waldron added that the new coffee maker helps the janitors get a great start to their day as their work has only increased during these times.

“They haven’t received their janitorial carts yet but they were excited and thought about the ease of use and storage of things to make their job just more organized and efficient,” Buckmaster said. “They also just felt flattered to be recognized.”

The cart, from Home Depot, is larger, can carry more and is of much higher quality than the carts the custodians currently use, Waldron added.

The custodians have a big impact on the students, Buckmaster added. They interact with the students at school every day and build relationships. They set up the gym for assemblies, took chairs out for graduation and installed the stage. They offer continuous support for everyone in the system.

“It was really neat that the kids recognize that custodians don’t always get the recognition they deserve,” Buckmaster said.

Past senior gifts have included a bench that sits outside the front entrance, touchless water bottle filler, a pirate rug for the main entrance and soft toilet paper for the next school year.

Buckmaster said she appreciates the fact that the senior class came through COVID-19 and ended the school year on a positive note.

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