HAVERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Every day, a local custodian starts off the day with a high five and a smile for every student at Cardinal Foley Catholic School. His warm spirit and fashion design skills have earned him a national nomination for Custodian of the Year.
Walking the hallways of Cardinal Foley in Havertown with Howard Edwards, affectionately known by students and staff as Mr. Howard, is like being in the presence of a rock start.
“He’s just so energetic and so happy all the time and it makes us so happy to see him,” eighth-grader Ryan Holmes said. “He gives us high fives in the hallways and fist bumps and we’re just so happy.”
Mr. Howard’s infectious smile and vivacious spirit is the reason why hundreds of students and parents nominated him for Custodian of the Year. He recently found out he’s one of 10 finalists for the Cintas national award.
Little did he know, all of the little ones had kept quite a big secret.
“I feel great, it was shocking to me,” Mr. Howard said. “I was a winner from the time I walked in that lunchroom because just to know that this group of people felt that way about me, that made me a winner.”
Mr. Howard is not only responsible for the school’s pristine hallways and classrooms, he’s also a fashion designer who teaches fashion design and carpentry to middle school students.
He’s helped to design costumes for school plays, like the most recent: “Mary Poppins.”
“We started with sweatsuits, and [the students] were so proud, they were so shocked, they didn’t know that they were capable of doing these things,” Mr. Howard said.
“He is probably one of the most deserving people that I’ve personally ever met,” Holly Tenaglia said.
Tenaglia teaches art and wrote a touching testimonial about why he’s so deserving of the award.
“Every spring he has a boy’s day and he brings in Rita’s Italian Ice for all of the boys in the school and he has one for the girls, as well, on Valentine’s Day he’ll bring in chocolates,” Tenaglia said.
The National Custodian of the Year award winner and the school each get $5,000 so let’s get Mr. Howard some votes! He’s the only contestant from Pennsylvania.
To vote for Mr. Howard, click here.