James Robertson is in his seventh year of service as a custodian in the St. Charles Parish Public School System. And because the coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot of people’s jobs, this year Robertson’s role in cleaning New Sarpy Elementary School is more important than ever.
Robertson became emotional when asked about the students and how different this school year has been because of COVID-19.
“In August I was wondering if they would be safe back in school,” Robertson said of the students he serves. “But I had confidence that the school system was ready. I just really wanted the kids to be safe. The first day the kids came back I said my prayers.”
Lisa Harrison, a special education para educator at NSE, said Robertson has always taken such excellent care of the educators and students at the school, but that this year in particular she appreciates his efforts.
“He does it with a smile and never complains,” Harrison said of Robertson. “He is called upon constantly to do everything imaginable and he has so much additional work now because of the many extra things that need to be done to keep us safe. I appreciate him and think about how hard he has to work. I know that he is not the only one that has extra duties because of the virus, but I see the extra effort he puts out every day.”
Robertson said he stumbled upon the job listing for a school custodian years ago, and when he landed the job he realized he had no idea how many moving parts it took for a school to run smoothly.
“I was stunned at what goes on in the school building,” Robertson said. “I liked what I saw … it inspired me.”
Robertson said his first-hand look at the inner workings of the schools he has worked at has made him more appreciative of the education his two daughters received in the school system.
NSE Principal Rebecca Matherne said Robertson is a consummate professional and always responds to requests in a helpful manner.
“He is truly a team player for New Sarpy Elementary and embodies St. Charles Parish Public School’s Customer Excellence Standards by committing to the district’s vision daily,” Matherne said. “We cannot thank him enough for his hard work, positive attitude and impact.”
Robertson said his favorite part of his job is interacting with the students daily.
“I can’t wait to showing up in the morning,” he said. “This job has made my life better.”