COBB COUNTY, Ga. — After about 1,800 Sprayberry High School students and staff members wrap up their day, a team of custodians shows up make sure the halls, floors, bathrooms and classrooms are ready for another day of teaching and learning.
One member of this team is George Burcher, who recently celebrated 40 years as a custodian with the Cobb County School District. Burcher was recognized by the Cobb school board and Superintendent Chris Ragsdale for his years of service to the system.
The school system also used Oct. 2 as National Custodial Workers Day to recognize the 600 men and women tasked with cleaning its schools and facilities.
"Most long-term custodians I talk to just love being around the staff and the kids," said Brad Massey, the school district's maintenance supervisor. "Some have watched kids go all the way through school and even return to that same school as a teacher years later."
Burcher said he was touched by the recognition from the school system.
"I thought it was a pretty good honor for what my position is," he said.
Burcher, 61, starts his day around 2 p.m. and spends the next several hours cleaning and scrubbing classrooms, bathrooms, hallways and floors. The custodians also help with sporting events whenever needed. Burcher's shift ends around midnight.
As a custodian, Burcher has seen many students come and go and others who leave only to return to Sprayberry as educators. For example, one student graduated and later came back to serve as a football coach while a student-athlete who played baseball returned to the East Cobb institution to teach math.
"I've had a good rapport with the kids," he said. "It's a great community."
Burcher, who lives in Roswell, began his tenure with Cobb schools in 1979 as a custodian at Wheeler High School. He also worked at East Cobb Middle School and Lassiter High School. He's been a member of Sprayberry's staff for more than 30 years.
Sprayberry's longtime custodian said he doesn't plan to retire any time soon. He said he's worked with a variety of principals who've all done things differently, but he's always had the support of administrators, teachers, students and staff.
"I have a lot of good friends in this county," he said.
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