There are many vital elements to making a school run smoothly and on Wednesday students and staff at Park Elementary honored the work of two men who contribute a great deal in that way.
Over the last couple of months now principal Katie Mathews and the students of the youth leadership group have been working on a way to recognize the custodial staff at Park Elementary.
Custodian Shane Beisheim was in for quite a surprise when he thought he was going to the gym for an emergency vomit incident, when instead he was met with cheers and applause; all in a surprise effort to honor all the things he and night-side custodian Steve Capellen do.
"We have a youth leadership group called P–A–R–K and they're our ambassadors for our school. They plan a lot of different events, but this year the one thing that they've been so excited about is recognizing our custodial staff," said principal Katie Mathews.
The students made a special card for each of the custodians. Both men also received a special plaque and gift card to their favorite restaurant in town as a way to recognize all their hard work.
The leadership group raised the money last week with a slushy sale at school.
And for the shy custodial staff the recognition was a touching surprise.
"It's wonderful. They give me cards at certain times of the year and I keep all of those cards and a bunch that they gave me this time will go into a special little box that I keep," said Beisheim.
And according to the staff those cards have wonderful things to say.
"I'm very touched by the sincerity of the students and their voice that comes through in their cards, because they do know and respect and understand how critical the custodian is to the smooth function of a school."
The kids were delighted to see the look on their beloved custodians face.
"It felt really good to see him and get handshakes and to just see how much the kids appreciate him," said student Bailey Litchty.
Student Ella Murray said, "It made me happy to see how happy he was and to know that every kid really does appreciate them."
And Gabe Van Winkle said, "It was just very special."
Later that evening, night-side custodian Steve Capellen received his gifts from the students in a more private setting.