More than 1,900 students — not to mention staff members and visitors — fill the nearly 225,900 square feet of North Point High School almost every day.
“We go Monday to Sunday,” said Alice Makle, the building service manager at the school. The dedication and attention to detail earned Makle’s team the Silver Hammer Award for posting a 96 percent rating on a state inspection.
“An almost unprecedented score of 96 percent,” Comptroller Peter V. Franchot said during an awards ceremony Thursday at North Point.
He said state inspectors have 37 different engineering criteria when it comes to inspecting schools around the state. “They are very specific, there is nothing subjective,” Franchot said. “By taking care of this school, you defer by decades the need for a new building. You are literally saving the state hundreds of millions of dollars. I consider you unsung heroes.”
Those honored are Makle, Catherine Bynum, Robert Small, Tyrell Bivins, Patricia Dorsey, Terrance Duckett, Tina Edelen, Jonathan Hemsley, Elizabeth King, Kalvin Proctor, Mandell Proctor, William Proctor, Dustin Simmons, James Smoot, Ashley Todd and Edwin Willie.
Safe and clean buildings are a must for aiding teaching and learning, Franchot said. And building service workers have created a culture of teamwork at North Point. “Sometimes kids give you a hard time, but you’re much more popular than the teachers,” Franchot joked.
North Point senior Elge Stevens knows the importance of building service workers. In the beginning of the year, he came to administrators with the idea of holding an appreciation week for the workers. The week of Oct. 24 is designated Building Service Worker Appreciation Week at North Point.
“I always see them hustling in the hallways,” Stevens said, adding that worker Robert Small lifted his spirits after a bad day. “I was having a rough day and Mr. Small saw me and smiled, he said something funny and I started laughing.”
While Franchot touted the workers as “unsung heroes,” Stevens already had T-shirts made up for the workers to wear next week — a design on the back has a graphic of a North Point eagle holding a mop with the words “The Unsung Heroes” under it.
Some students take the work building service workers for granted. Student Board member said he was guilty of that in the past. “They’re in the shadows,” he said. “But the people in the shadows are the ones who are doing the hard work.” Washington added that he appreciates the work put in to keep North Point pristine.
Makle has been at the school since it opened in 2005, starting as a building service worker before becoming the manager. She said the job is challenging but can be exciting and working with a team is rewarding. She said most students listen to them and some call her “Mom” or “Auntie.”
Getting the Silver Hammer Award will serve as a catalyst to the team to keep up the good work or maybe crank it up a notch.
“This is going to make us work even harder,” Makle said, accepting the award on behalf of the honorees.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,400 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Dr. Patricia Vaira, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Pamela K. Murphy, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.