by Larry Austin
Kaegebein Elementary School recognized a group of unsung heroes in education Thursday.
Principal Mary Haggerty presented the Golden Dustpan award to Mike DeMartin, the head custodian at Kaegebein Elementary, for a job well done by the Kaegebein Kleaning Krew in this summer's scorching heat.
Haggerty explained that because much of the hard work and effort by the cleaners and custodians takes place outside the view of students and teachers, she wanted the "krew" to get its just due.
"They don't always get a lot of credit for the job that they do, and those are not easy jobs," Haggerty said. "They work hard for their money and they do a great job. We're very proud of them and we're very appreciative and very grateful that they do what they do."
"It's nice to be recognized," DeMartin said. In accepting the award and thank-you letters from students at a surprise lunchtime gathering, DeMartin, pictured above receiving the award, praised the others in his krew: Rick Walworth, night custodian; and cleaners Anne Henneberger, Daniel Pedlow and Liz Tucker. "We do have an exceptional krew here," he said.
The recognition included a "hip-hip-hooray" from the student body and offered a teachable moment for the children as well, Haggerty said. "It's just our way of making sure that the students understand how important all of the adults are that work in the school and the important work that they do to make it a great school for them."
"In probably the hottest, most difficult summer we've had in a long, long time, not only did Mike and the Krew get everything spic and span and wonderful, they did it well ahead of time so the teachers could get back in their classrooms and be prepared for the boys and girls," Haggerty said. "And he does it consistently, year after year. Grand Island's buildings and grounds department is just amazing and they all do a great job."