Surprise Squad honors Springfield janitor who has lasting impact on students
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - The Hyundai Dealers Surprise Squad is back in a big way. This month, we are celebrating a team member from the Alice Beal Elementary School in Springfield who keeps the school clean, kids safe, and has a lasting impact on the students.
“It’s not an easy job and he does it with a smile on his face,” said Alice Beal Elementary School Principal Kate Fancy.
Fancy told Western Mass News that Curtis Williams, the school’s janitor, has the unique ability to brighten everyone’s day.
“He is the first one outside greeting students, keeping them safe during traffic duty. It’s not only the students, but it’s the parents too,” Fancy added.
One of those parents, Maria Martinez, said Williams has a had a major impact on her daughter’s school experience and her life.
“He is so kind, so caring with us. He keeps the school clean and he has a big smile when he arrives to the school,” Martinez said.
“He’s a friend and he’s a good person,” added fifth grader Gia Milford.
Because Williams does so much for the students and the school, we decided to do something special for him.
“There’s nothing like seeing the children smile and that they want to come to school every day. This is awesome, just awesome,” Williams said.
“Congrats. On behalf of the Western Mass. Hyundai Dealers, we are going to donate $500 to the school in your name for you to use as you see fit,” said Mike Paquette, general sales manager at Country Hyundai.
“Congratulations Curtis…some of the New York Giants swag and $350 for you, so go pamper yourself. Enjoy it, you deserve it,” added Kevin Schechterle, general sales manager at Gary Rome Hyundai.
“This is awesome. Thank you, wow,” Williams said.
However, the surprises were not over yet. Williams’ wife and parents were in attendance.
“This is huge because he puts so much pride into his work. He loves his staff, the kids. He really enjoys his job and all through COVID, he worked the entire time. I had to see him get recognized and in a way like this is absolutely amazing and so well deserved,” said Shannon Williams, Williams’ wife.
Williams has been working at Alice Beal Elementary School for about 13 years. He also spent time in the military, just like his dad.
“I disciplined him quite a bit too, but it turned out that he’s become great and so proud of him. He’s a workaholic. He loves this job,” said Willie Williams, Williams’ father.
“I’m glad that he turned out to be a very nice young man and I’m blessed to have him as my son. I love him,” Cheyanne Johnson, Williams’ mother.
They did such a great job raising him, Williams brings the work ethic home with him.
“He has Saturday clean day. We get up and leave before we start and we are going to be brought into it and the house is immaculate,” Shannon Williams added.
Williams told us school is home away from home.
“They are like my other family. This is my second home without them. A part of my family is missing. It’s a blessing to come to work every day and have people care about you the way that you care about them and I love it,” Williams said.
Students told us the feeling is mutual
“He keeps us safe while crossing. He cleans the school for us and he just takes care of it and he puts a smile on everybody here,” Milford said.
“There’s not a lot of guys out there that come to work every day, look out for the kids, and make sure they’re happy and make sure things are going good and then get the parents involved,” Paquette explained.
“He’s a very deserving character, just a nice guy. We can tell by the faces on all these little kids. We are so happy,” Schechterle noted.
Williams told us seeing the growth the kids is the most rewarding part of the job.
“To see some of the students out in the world…working now…it makes me feel a little bit old…but I am proud of them,” Williams said.
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