Elementary school custodian, 69, who has been working the same job at the same place for 50 years honored

Dollita Okine May 09, 2024
Custodian Louis Queen has worked at Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills, Maryland, for 50 years. Photo: People/REGINA PASSWATERS

Louis Queen has been a custodian at the Four Seasons Elementary School in Gambrills, Maryland, for 50 years, much to his astonishment. And he still seems to have the same appearance.

Known affectionately as Mr. Louis, the 69-year-old, who has spent nearly all his life keeping the school clean, told People, “My dad did 33 [years of service] for the county and I said, ‘I’ll never work that long at one place.’ I ended up [surpassing] him.”

The community, the kids, and getting to know new teachers are all reasons Queen believes he has stayed so long. “When I come in the morning to see the people, it just makes me feel good. And they all speak to you and have something nice to say all the time, mostly. That’s what I enjoy,” he remarked.

He mentioned that he previously had the opportunity to transfer to another department, but he declined since he liked his job.

As chief custodian, his main duty is ensuring that the school is properly maintained. He explained, “When I first come in, I walk around and check everything, make sure things are good for the kids to come in. And then through the day, there’s a lot of stuff. There’s always something to do. You can’t say, ‘Well, I ain’t got nothing to do.’ “

When he was 17 he enrolled in the summer employment program, which allowed high school students to work full-time. He got recruited after going for an interview with a former boss of his who transferred to Four Seasons.

The school celebrated Mr. Louis’ 50 years of service with a schoolwide assembly on April 15. Some former principals of Four Seasons were present, in addition to the students and current staff. Regina Passwaters, principal of Four Seasons Elementary, was fascinated about Queen’s tenure at the school, which prompted the celebration.

She told the outlet, “When you first meet him, you know he’s one of a kind. I was like, ‘I wonder how many years he’s been here.’ We had human resources do a little investigative work on him since I knew he wasn’t going to tell me all the details. And so we were really able to dig deep into how long he had been… I knew he had been a staple in this community.”

She had noticed Queen’s dedication to the institution, revealing that “He takes pride in the building. I often say, ‘This is our home. And Mr. Louis treats it that way.’ The building will be 50 years old as well, so when you walk in the building, it doesn’t look like a 50-year-old building because you have a chief custodian who has high expectations.”

In addition, she also noted that “He is truly one of a kind. Students are more excited to interact with Mr. Louis than I think anybody in the school building. He has dance parties during lunch. He greets students in the morning, high fives. They have special handshakes and kids have nicknames. I think he is probably the most popular staff member we have.”

Before the children came up to him and disclosed the surprise, the custodian said that he knew something was happening because he was convinced they were up to something. He was equally moved to see several of the old principals in attendance.

The Central Maryland Chamber presented Queen with an award that honors “the outstanding accomplishments of the Central Maryland Region’s most dedicated civil servants and chamber members/volunteers.”

As per WBALTV, Queen intends to continue doing what he does at Four Seasons until retirement, keeping the school clean and spreading joy along the way.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 9, 2024


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