GLASGOW — Students who attend schools in the Barren County School System return to class on Wednesday and the custodial staff at Barren County Middle School are ready to welcome their students back.
The staff has spent the summer cleaning the school from top to bottom, and that includes waxing the floors until they shine. They have also done some painting where it was needed.
BCMS has four custodians: Casey Hawks, Carl McGuire, Wanda McGuire and Rondal Basil.
They all pitched in earlier this week to help cook about 900 hot dogs for the school's back-to-school bash.
On Friday, they were tending to last-minute details in getting the school ready for students.
“I enjoy my job here. I tell you I do,” Carl McGuire said, taking a break from working with Hawks and Basil in setting up tables in the school's cafeteria
“You can't beat the staff. They are wonderful to work with,” he said. “I love the kids too.”
When school is in session, the day-to-day tasks the custodial staff tends to are about the same each day.
“Of course, when school is out it's a whole lot different,” Carl McGuire said.
That's when they remove all the furniture from the classrooms so they can wax floors and do the necessary painting. One task this summer involved sanding steps in one stairwell.
On Friday, the custodial staff led a tour of the classrooms they had worked hard on over the summer to get them ready for the first day of school, pointing out certain tasks they had done and reminiscing about things that had been done in the past by either them or the teaching staff.
The first week of school is also a little bit different for the custodial staff.
“There's always something going on with the kids,” Carl McGuire said.
Sometimes during the first week of school, students ask the custodial staff for directions when trying to get from one classroom to another, while at other times they are asked to help students gain access to their lockers.
Those are tasks the custodial staff say they don't mind doing.
“That's what we're here for,” Carl McGuire said.
Two members of the custodial staff have put in many years taking care of the school.
Hawks has worked there for 22 years, while Carl McGuire has been there for 20 years.
Carl McGuire's wife, Wanda, joined the staff three years ago, and Rondal Basil has been a part of the custodial staff for two years.
The McGuires say they don't mind working together at the same school.
“It doesn't bother me a bit,” Carl McGuire said.
“It's just fine,” Wanda McGuire said.
“She bosses me at home and I boss her here,” Carl McGuire said, laughing.
Neither Hawks nor Basil say they mind working with a husband and wife team.
“It's all right,” Basil said.
Hawks added they don't fuss very often.
“I come in at 2 o'clock and get off at 10:30 p.m., so they're going home about 3:30 p.m.,” Basil said. “I don't see them much except for about an hour or so.”
Wanda McGuire worked as a custodian at Temple Hill Elementary before she made the move to BCMS.
“To them, I was just Granny. And then when I got over here, I was with some of the same group that I had there,” she said.
Some of the children still call her Granny.
She recalled one Temple Hill student who became upset when he found out she was leaving Temple Hill to go to BCMS.
“He was just heartbroken,” she said. “He didn't want me to leave him.”
But then he too left Temple Hill to go to BCMS and got to see Wanda McGuire every day just like he did when he was in elementary school.
She has found that she has grown close over the years to some of the students.
“They are just part of your children,” she said.