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Avon Local Schools celebrates retirement of beloved custodian

Posted at 1:19 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 13:19:07-05

AVON, Ohio — Students and staff at Avon Early Learning Center celebrated their beloved custodian, Phil White, who at 65 years old, is retiring at the end of the year.

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Chris Balmert greets Phil White as he prepares to drive him around Avon.

On Wednesday, students and staff, all wearing purple and gold, lined up outside the center where he works to surprise White, who was picked up in a Tesla, owned by Chris Balmert whose children go to the school. White loves when the car comes to the school to drop-off or pick-up the Balmert children.

Balmert took White on a cruise around town in the Tesla.

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Phil White, 65, picked up in a Tesla.

White started working for Avon Local Schools as a substitute custodian in April 2004. He was hired as a night custodian at Avon High School before he went to Heritage South Elementary then back to Avon High School in 2009. A short time later, he moved to a day position at Avon Heritage South Elementary in 2015. Then in 2017, he ended up at Avon Early Learning Center where he has worked ever since.

Avon Local Schools superintendent Jim Rietenbach said White was loved by students and staff at every school he worked.

“When you meet White, you can’t help but smile. His kind, caring friendly demeanor is loved by all students and staff in the district,” Rietenbach said in a news release.

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Phil White leaves the Avon Early Learning Center with Principal Colleen Mudore.

“I love what I do,” said White. "I love seeing the kids and the staff. I take pride in my work. Seeing the kids and making them smile, makes me smile."

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Avon Early Learning Center kindergartner, Owen Buckley, 6; Phil White; and Avon Early Learning Center kindergartner Clara Johnson, 6.

White, who a resident of Elyria, plans to hang around for the next five years while his wife continues working as a file clerk manager at Giant Eagle. The couple has family in Alabama and their goal is to move there in a few years.

As for what he’d like to be remembered for after he leaves the Avon Local Schools, White said, “A smiling face, kindness and caring.”

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