Tennant Company Announces Grand Prize Winner In Fifth Annual Custodians Are Key Program

Izet S., is shown second from left. (Photo courtesy of Tennant Company)

Tennant Company  has announced the grand-prize winner in its 2023-2024 Custodians Are Key program. From a field of more than 1,700 nominations and 12 finalists, Izet S., a custodian at Saint Ambrose on the Hill Catholic School in Missouri, won the top prize. A celebration at the school took place on May 10, 2024, where Tennant honored the winning custodian and school with a $15,000 prize package.

“Izet’s dedication and service to the school in his care show exactly why Custodians Are Key,” Dave Huml, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Tennant, said. “His contributions illustrate the essential role custodians play in our communities, and we are proud to celebrate his well-deserved recognition — along with the rest of our finalists this year and all the custodians who work every day to make shared spaces clean, safe, and welcoming. At Tennant, we are proud to support schools like St. Ambrose and individuals like Izet in their dedication to ensure a positive learning environment for students, faculty, and staff.”

Izet was nominated by fourth-grade teacher Emily Elmore. Izet’s story exemplifies the very essence of the program — going above and beyond to create a welcoming and supportive environment for students and staff. Ms. Elmore’s Custodians Are Key submission paints a heartwarming picture of Izet’s dedication that extends far beyond keeping the school clean.

Elmore noted that Izet is originally from Bosnia and worked hard to learn English, often with the help of the school’s students. He was “beaming ear to ear” when he passed the U.S. citizenship test and voted in his first election — proudly wearing his “I voted” sticker throughout the halls of St. Ambrose.

Every year, Elmore invites Izet to her classroom as a guest speaker to share his story of immigration and hardship to teach students what freedom in the U.S. truly means. He connects with students on a personal level, playing soccer with them at recess, engaging in friendly arm-wrestling matches, and receiving countless hugs from younger students. He’s even the assistant coach for one of the 8th-grade soccer teams.

Tennant’s Custodians Are Key recognition program, now in its fifth year, honors and rewards the great work of K-12 custodians in schools around the U.S. and Canada. The 2023-2024 program started with a call for submissions on Sept. 12, 2023. Nominations officially closed on Oct. 31, 2023, and 12 finalists were selected.

The finalists in this year’s competition were: DeVante Q., of Paxinosa Elementary in Pennsylvania; Crystal I., of Birney Tech Academy in California; Chris D., of Stringfellow Elementary School in Georgia; Austin S., of Berryton Elementary School in Kansas; Dan B., of Kellogg High School in Idaho; John C., of Slater Middle School in Rhode Island; Rodger C., of St. Anne’s Catholic Elementary School in Ontario; Angie H., of Vermilion Elementary School in Ohio; Danny A., of Frank Kohn Elementary School in California; Eric D., of Millville Elementary in Utah; and Scott S., of Mauston High School in Wisconsin. Visit tennantco.com/custodian.

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