• Middle school celebrates 81-year-old school custodian who earned GED

    By: Berndt Petersen

    Updated:

    BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. - A Bartow County school custodian says it’s never too late to learn.

    On Wednesday, teachers at Woodland Middle School in Euharlee celebrated his earning a GED.

    Every nook and cranny of the school is spic and span, thanks to custodian Herbert Perkinson.

    "I love it. I really do. I want it to be the cleanest school in Bartow County,” Perkinson said.

    “Mister Herbert," as he is known, landed a job here four years ago after a 40-year career as a truck driver.

    Shortly after arriving, he had a goal. He wanted to be named the school’s head custodian.


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    "I want to keep my school looking clean," he'd say.

    "He takes pride in what he does,” his wife Lenora said.

    But there was a job requirement Perkinson didn’t have.

    "As we began to talk further about the qualifications, I realized he did not have his high school diploma,” principal Michael Blankenship said.

    So Perkinson spent all summer studying. He earned his GED, and a surprise party at the school. He got a standing ovation, and a standing job offer when the head custodian position comes open.

    Perkinson wants the students at Woodland to know that it’s never too late to learn, even at the tender age of 81.

    "A lot of them--they look up to me. They tell me 'thank you' for keeping the classroom so clean for them."

    A school district spokesperson says next school year, the head custodian job is Perkinson's.

    He had another reason to celebrate this day: his wedding anniversary. He and wife Lenora have been married 20 years.

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