Custodians get some much needed appreciation.

If you’ve ever looked at a calendar of special holidays, you know that there seems to be a special day for celebrating almost everything. But guess what’s missing? A day to honor the contributions of school maintenance and custodial staff.

As far as Marietta’s Primary Elementary School’s staff is concerned, that just won’t do.

“We just couldn’t operate without these special people,” said secretary Denise Balog. “They do everything for us!”

And in the absence of a set calendar day, Principal Ann Rutledge, Balog, the teachers and support staff at MPES chose their own. On Monday, January 27, the school celebrated Maintenance and Custodial Staff Appreciation Day.

“We always include them in our celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, but we wanted them to have their own day,” said Rutledge. “These people are beyond dedicated. They’re the first ones here and the last ones to leave. They drive buses, keep our buildings clean, there’s just no way to cover all of the things they do for us, and we appreciate them more than we can say.”

The special celebration came complete with a luncheon hosted in the MPES teachers’ lounge and a goodie bag for each staff member, prepared by the teachers and staff. Each bag included several snacks and a poem composed in their honor by Balog.

“It’s cold and we wanted to feed them a hearty, home-cooked meal and give them a small gift to show our appreciation for their dedication,” said Balog.

Maintenance staff members are Edward Beyers, Bertha Carmona, Josefina Fernandez, Lupe Garcia, Linda Lambert, Yesenia Sanchez, Grecia Varela, Steven Henson, Rosalio “Leo” Amaya, and D.J. Peterson. These hard-working individuals, under the direction of Supervisor Jeral Berry, “keep the wheels on the bus,” according to Rutledge.

“They just don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Rutledge stated. “They take care of so many things on our campus, sometimes before we even see that they need to be done, and there is never a complaint. They help us and each other.”

District Superintendent Brandi Naylor is also complimentary of the school’s maintenance and custodial staff.

“We are blessed to have these people as a part of our campus family,” she said, “They keep everything in our district running efficiently and there’s no way we could operate without them.”

Perhaps Balog, who is credited with the idea for the special celebration said it best.

“How could you possibly compensate what they do? There’s no way,” she remarked. “But the very least they deserve is their own special day, and we’re happy to do that for them.”