La Cañada Elementary students, staff and parents alike agree on one thing, and that's their appreciation of custodians José Quinonez and Melvin Jones. So when fourth grade student Patrick Finnigan, a member of the LCE student council, announced his plans for a day to honor the two men, everyone jumped in to help.
Finnigan, who aspires to become a tennis player, explained his reasons for wanting to create a day for Quinonez and Jones.
"Sometimes people just don't seem to see them. They are always here and we see José a lot but don't see Melvin that much," explained Finnigan. Quinonez works the day shift at LCE; Jones comes on duty at 2:30 p.m.
"He [Jones] works when everyone's not here so I thought they should be recognized and appreciated and I suggested it to Mr. Berger. We figured out what we wanted to do."
"Patrick brought the idea to student council," said Bob Berger, long-time LCE teacher and student council advisor. "This was all his idea, quite something for a fourth grade student."
Robbie Finnigan, Patrick's mother said, "He has always been observant of people and notices things others might not. He's an old soul and is always very thoughtful of others. He comes home from a long day at school and asks me how my day was."
LCE Principal Ivette Ellis praised the overall awareness by her students of the hard work being done on campus.
"They [the students] are well aware that we recognize teachers and our classified staff and feel especially close to José and Melvin because they see them around the school," she said. "Mr. Berger brainstormed with them and came up with this idea. They made the cards and purchased the gift cards with funds from fundraisers held throughout the year."
Principal Ellis continued, "I am proud of the kids for making sure everyone in our school family gets recognized and I think that says a lot about them. The custodians work hard and have a good relationship with the kids."
Quinonez and Jones both appeared to be overwhelmed by the recognition they received, even though their names had appeared on the school's marquee for several weeks.
"I'm very surprised," said Jones. "I thank my little buddies here. They've been good to me."
Quinonez responded saying, "I feel the same, surprised!"
Patrick Finnigan just beamed his huge smile.