Frederick County Public Schools’ Lead Custodian Michael Eldridge is one of 10 nationwide finalists in the Cintas Corporation’s Janitor of the Year contest to recognize the best-of-the-best in school janitors. Eldridge stands to win a $5,000 cash prize along with $5,000 in Cintas and Rubbermaid products and services for his school, Deer Crossing Elementary—not to mention bragging rights.
“Michael Eldridge, or Mr. Michael as students call him, joined our custodial team five years ago when he moved to the area so his children could benefit from services at the Maryland School for the Deaf. He is much more than a custodian, serving as a teacher, mentor, friend and outstanding role model for the nearly 800 students at our school,” says Deer Crossing Elementary Principal Heather Michael. “Michael is deaf and actively demonstrates how one’s disability never stands in the way of greatness. Taking time out of his day to develop individual connections with each student, he is often teaching American Sign Language and creating special handshakes with students and staff. Michael’s friendly spirit and strong work ethic radiate through our bustling halls, inspiring staff, students and community members.”
The contest is open to janitors of educational facilities of all levels—elementary through college. In its fourth year, the award shines a spotlight on those who work behind the scenes and often go unnoticed.
“When we started this contest, we were looking for a way to honor those who work so hard year-round to make schools a safe, healthy, clean place for our children to learn,” said John Engel, Director of Marketing, Cintas. “But what we learned was that there is so much more to a janitor’s relationship with the students and staff than we ever knew. These janitors truly are a beloved part of their school.”
To cast your vote for Mr. Eldridge, and to read more about him, please visit www.cintas.com/JOTY. Voting will close Friday, April 14.