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Well-Deserved Retirement for Penny Duncan

Elena Hamner, Staff Editor

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Penny Duncan has held the position as head custodian at Seward High School for a little over 20 years. Day in and day out, she has patrolled the halls keeping our school clean. Aside from her day-to-day job, Penny has made a huge impact on Seward High’s students. Anywhere from the need of supplies for school projects to simply unlocking a door, she has never hesitated to help. And now, her hard work has earned her a must deserved retirement.

To people who do not see what goes on behind the scenes, being a janitor may seem like an easy job. However, it is quite the opposite. High schoolers are infamous for attitude and messes. There are days when every corner you turn there is trash on the ground, crushed up food pressed into the carpet, and kids continually putting it there. Though Cooper and Mac clean during the night, vacuuming and wiping down surfaces, Penny deals with people most of the day, and cleans throughout the day, as well.

Not only has she worked here, she’s watched Seward High School change and grow over the years. “One of the biggest changes I’ve seen in the school is at lunch time, and where it takes place… It’s a lot harder to clean, and takes a lot longer because everyone eats everywhere, except the cafeteria. You turn every corner and there’s food all over.” As freedom increases for students, often laziness does, as well. “I like the job; well, except the cleaning part!” I think that’s a topic we can all agree on.

Friday, April 28, was Penny’s last day at Seward High School. As she was getting ready to leave, Seward High was preparing for her departure. At 12:10, every class halted what they were doing, and made their way to the front of the school, as if participating in a fire drill. Though some believed they were actually participating in a fire drill, it was more of a surprise party. As everyone had finished gathering, Mr. Walker, escorted Penny, who had tears in her eyes, out the front doors. He gave a speech about the work and the years that Penny had put into the care and cleanliness of Seward High School, thanking her for the dedication to the staff, students, and building. The highlight of the short ceremony was the unveiling of the John Deere tractor with the bold letters “PENNY” on the front. There was a little story behind all of that.  According to Mr. Walker, Penny had requested a tractor for a long time, but it was only provided two years ago. Mr. Walker said it was fitting to dedicate the tractor to Penny for all the years she shoveled snow by hand.

Penny, we thank you dearly for your years of service to us, and our school. It was an honor.

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