Combined, they had more than 50 years of custodial experience. On Monday night, members of the Mid-Prairie community expressed their gratitude for retiring staffers Mike TeBockhorst, Lead Custodian …
Combined, they had more than 50 years of custodial experience. On Monday night, members of the Mid-Prairie community expressed their gratitude for retiring staffers Mike TeBockhorst, Lead Custodian at East Elementary, and Gary Dawson, Lead Custodian at Middle.
Seventeen of TeBockhorst and Dawson’s colleagues, past and present, filled the back of the room at the March 28 Mid-Prairie Board of Education meeting. As many teachers, administrators, and school board members said words of tribute to the custodians, eyes did not stay dry.
Retired district Superintendent Mark Schneider said, “I always thought of Gary as The Innovator. Gary always had new ideas. Let’s try this. Let’s try this. Let’s try this. Some of them were great.”
After sharing a few experiences that elicited chuckles, he concluded, “Gary, you were fantastic. You really were. You took your responsibility seriously.”
East Elementary Principal Robin Foster said, “There was a lot of joy at East Elementary thanks to Mr. Mike. . . He’s a testament to being in a place for kids and wanting what’s best for kids.”
Second grade teacher Kerri Bell acknowledged TeBockhorst’s 32 years of service before sharing a few of her favorite memories of her colleague at East Elementary. “Mr. Mike was more than a custodian. He was a friend to all who knew him. He loved his job, and he loved the kids. And it showed, by the smiles, hugs, high-fives, kind words, and actions exchanged. He did his job, and he did it well every day,” she said.
For almost 40 minutes, folks reminisced and offered kind words. The words ‘joy’, ‘friendship,’ and ‘experience’ came up repeatedly. It was clear just how much the daily presence of TeBockhorst and Dawson will be missed.
TeBockhorst, much loved for his ukulele playing, concluded the session with a song before the crowd headed out to the lobby for a black and gold cookie reception:
Lollypops and Johnnie Mops is what we shared with you.
To be the best that we could be, Mid-Prairie it’s all for you.
Cleaning toilets, waxing floors, with pride in all we do
Again we say, old M-P, we did it all for you.
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