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Keeping His Building Clean
Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:00 AM
Joe May, custodian of Deputy Elementary School, talks about his summer routine for getting the school ready for the fall term. There are many areas in the Deputy Elementary School library, cafeteria and classrooms that he can usually only get to when the students are away on vacation. May says that he considers Deputy Elementary School to be his building, taking pride in how he has taken care of it for two decades. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchiefirstname.lastname@example.org)
"I like working with the people and the kids.I like it when the kids are here, but the summer is nice too. It's time to have a little break. But it's good to have them back when school comes back." Joe May, custodian at Deputy Elementary School
Joe May has been a busy man this summer. With the first day of school only two weeks away, May, Deputy Elementary School's head custodian, has cleaned the entire building. From "top to bottom," he says.
The 3,700-square-foot building has 12 classrooms, a library, cafeteria and gymnasium.
"I don't mind the work," May says, taking a break from cleaning.
One of his favorite parts of the job is being able to work with the people at the school.
"I like working with the people and the kids," he says. "I like it when the kids are here, but the summer is nice too. It's time to have a little break. But it's good to have them back when school comes back."
May has been a custodian for 30 years, and at Deputy for 20. Before taking the job at the elementary school he worked as a custodian at Madison Consolidated High School and then Madison Junior High School for seven years. May's father also was a custodian at the high school.
May spent last week finishing up work on the school's cafeteria and gymnasium, making sure both are ready for the start of the school year.
Every year, May says he has to decide between stripping or just buffing the cafeteria floors.
May says that over the years he's seen a lot of changes at the school, including technological advances like the interactive boards.
It's not like wiping down an overhead projector, May says.
May also handles the maintenance of school machinery - as long as they're small fixes. He says if a big problem occurs, a specialist has to be called in.
Many of the changes May has seen during his time at the school have come in the last five years, he says.
One of the biggest changes has been budget cuts that have limited the number of hours he can work.
May says he doesn't let that keep him from doing his job the way it needs to be done.
"I take pride in my building," he says.
This week May says he'll be on vacation before the start of another school year.
"Well, I've got to get my vacation in some time," he says.
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