August 15, 2012 - As the beginning of another school year approaches, I cannot help but think of those people who have worked so very hard in getting Lake Orion's school buildings ready for our children for so many years…
I recall my first day of kindergarten at Blanche Sims Elementary School – September, 1956 – and meeting Mr. Bartley for the first time. He loved keeping my school clean… the floors so shiny, the windows sparkling, the cafeteria tables spotless. He also loved being a giant pumpkin for the Halloween parade! Mr. Bartley's time was not spent solely as a custodian, but as a friend who truly loved his school and every person in it.
I retired from Lake Orion Schools in June of 2008, leaving Paint Creek Elementary School with as many dear memories as I had fifty-plus years before. Paint Creek's head custodian Nina Marks was a person who, like Mr. Bartley, loved her building, staff and every student she considered her own.
Over the years I had the honor to work with many people like Mr. Bartley and Mrs. Marks, and I would like to thank them for..
*…plowing and shoveling at 4:30 a.m. to make sure their school families would have a safe arrival.
*…taking care of plants and classroom pets during vacations and weekends.
*…understanding why kindergartners MUST use glitter on ALL projects.
*…taking care of the bathroom "issues" promptly!
*…cleaning up after sick children without hesitation.
*…keeping the cafeterias in order – not an easy task when 500 – 2,000 students eat within a two hour period!
*…knowing when a student needed encouragement, a smile or a kind word or two.
*…setting up and taking down hundreds of chairs for programs, concerts and plays – all within one evening.
*…responding to immediate emergencies, many times happening in opposite ends of the building at the same time.
*…working overtime when short-handed to make sure their students entered clean hallways and classrooms in the morning.
*…putting together bookcases, repairing broken chairs and tables, and any other classroom fixings that needed to be done.
*…helping a panicked student who accidently left his/her retainer on the lunch tray fish it out of the dumpster – either in the dead of winter or on a hot spring day.
*…welcoming each and every person who walked through their building's door with a sincere smile.
*…taking such good care of so many people.
I know that I speak for many when I say that we will never forget your selfless acts of kindness, loyalty, pride and hard work that you've given to Lake Orion Community Schools for so many years. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.