Black History Month competition winners inspired by school employees

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 12:45 PM EDT
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James Henderson has worked at Metcalfe Elementary School for 14 years now as a janitor. He said this last year during the pandemic has been a challenge as he’s worked extra hard to clean the school to make sure the students and staff are kept safe from the virus.

Though, that hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. Second grade student, Immanuel Howard, painted a portrait of Henderson calling him a superhero for his dedication.

“He works very, very, very, hard,” said Howard.

The portrait is one of two winning the Black History Month competition. For Henderson, the recognition is humbling.

RELATED STORY: North Central Florida students win Florida Black History Month competitions

“It just goes back to making me feel so good and special and I feel that this makes me want to do more, you might as well just say it because I’m here and I’m here for the long haul,” said Henderson.

Meanwhile at High Springs Community School, school resource officer Adam Joy is also being recognized for going above and beyond.

In her essay titled “The ‘Joy’ of Our Community”, she explained the ways he serves the community, including programs like Meals on Wheels, No Son Left Behind, and a variety of giveaways and community events.

Fourth grade student Brynley Ashraf recognized Joy’s hard work and chose to write about him for the Black History Month elementary essay category. She said he does everything to try and make students feel safe at school.

“I donated stuffed animals to keep in his office so if a kid is upset they can go in there and it will keep them calm,” said Ashraf.

Joy said reading Brynley’s essay for the first time brought tears to his eyes.

“It means a lot because you really think nobody is watching and you’re not doing it to be seen, but to know that people are watching you and they are inspired is really breath taking,” said Joy.

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