NewsNational News


'He's the heart and soul of the school': A custodian in Texas was surprised with a special gift from students

Posted at 3:31 PM, Oct 04, 2019

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — National Custodian Day was a very special day for a custodian working at Ella Barnes Elementary School this week.

John Jackson, or Mr. John, as the kids like to call him, is loved by students, staff, and parents at the Texas school.

Fifth-grade teacher Kathy Ritter says he's the heart and soul of the school.

To show their appreciation, the staff at Ella Barnes got together and surprised Jackson with two tickets to the Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins game in December with all expenses paid.

"I just want to thank the staff, starting with the principal and the assistant principal. To me, it's a blessing for me to be here and to work with a good group of staff. For them to go out of their way to care for me that way, you know, I appreciate it," Jackson said.

Jackson is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan, so students and staff dressed up in Cowboys gear to present him with the tickets.

"People might think custodians just clean, but what makes Mr. John so special and extraordinary is that he makes connections with our kids," said Katie Gorman, the principal at Ella Barnes Elementary School. "He does high fives, today I saw him helping a little student tie their shoe in the hallway, he gives them fancy handshakes and he greets them in the morning. He opens car doors and when it's raining out, he's there with his umbrella with the rest of us. Every student on this campus will remember Mr. John when they leave."

"I always say he's the heart and soul of the school," Ritter said. "I always tell everybody that this place is not our home if he's not here. If he's out for a day you can feel it campus-wide."

Gorman added that "he really makes those connections" with the students.

"If the kids having a bad day he'll chat with them," the principal said. "So, that's what makes him so special because he goes above and beyond and he really, truly, is part of our team. He understands the importance of doing that."

Jackson said he will take his wife on the trip.

This story was originally published by Monica Chavarria on KZTV.