GRANDVILLE, Mich. — On Wednesday, a mother duck and her 15 ducklings were escorted safely through the halls of a Michigan middle school. They waddled from an interior courtyard where they were hatched out to a nearby creek.
For head custodian at Grandville Middle School, Kevin Wood, every day he goes into work is an exercise in the unexpected. Though, he always anticipates a day full of confronting and overcoming interesting problems.
“I expect to do a lot of things every day when I come in. It's going to be with the attitude, I'm going to help somebody or an animal," Wood told WXMI Monday afternoon.
Wood has seen a lot in his 20+ years with the district, working all types of roles. The school's head of security, Jack Verhil, hasn't been around to tend to as many unique situations.
After the mother duck and her 15 tiny ducklings were spotted in the courtyard, staff and students were hopeful that they could do something to help the little family.
“Got a radio call from Tim Buck [the school's mental health coordinator] saying that we have ducks in the courtyard," Verhil said. "And I looked right at Mr. Wood and said, here we go.”
They were ready to get the family of ducks out of the courtyard, and relocate them to nearby Buck Creek, but... how?
“And I'm like, how about we just walk them right out the front door?” Verhil explained.
So, they lined the front hallways of the school with tables leaned on their sides, creating a barricaded path to the front door.
“So, I basically went in behind mom and started guiding her towards the doorway," Wood said.
They didn't have much time, as students would soon fill the halls once the period ended.
"We did it during a class period, so everyone was inside, and actually I looked at the time I'm like, well, we better get this done before the bell rings, because then we got students coming through... ducks,” Verhil said.
As Wood and Verhil gently guided the ducks through the hallway and out the front door, a handful of staff and students looked on with the occasional "Awwww" or "I want a duck."
They were followed to nearby Buck Creek, which is just a few hundred feet from the school's front entrance.
“As soon as they walked through that entrance, I was raising my hands like, WHOOO,” Verhil said.
Incredibly, two days later, the school discovered another family of ducks living in another courtyard. Turns out, Grandville Middle School has two interior courtyards, which are apparently prime duck locations.
Those ducks were also safely escorted through the building and straight to water.
Wood says the moment became a powerful learning experience for the students who both witnessed and heard about what happened secondhand.
“Working with the ducks is kind of like working with the kids, and getting them down the hallway. You got to move them along, you know," Wood explained with a smile.
This story was originally published by Michael Martin at WXMI.