We opened Christopher Farms. It didn’t open for the students until September but it opened for us August 1, 1997. We had 30 days to get it ready.
And we did.
What do you like best about your work?
Well, you love a great principal that works with you and encourages you, allows you to hum and sing. I do it subconsciously, but when you hear the kids say, “Miss Mercy, we were listening to you in class. You’re singing in the bathroom.” That’s a happy custodian.
And what truly makes me happy is when the students look up to you, respect who you are and realize our jobs are important, too. You know, when they come back after graduation and say, “Miss Mercy, I still remember you.” It pleases my heart. There’s nothing like going from fifth grade all the way to 12th and still holding a special part of you in there, so that’s very moving. And having the administrators’ support, and they sing with you sometimes – and sometimes they dance. It just encourages you to have a great day.
To me, it’s not one person who makes a difference, it’s all of us working together. So having a staff of custodians who do what you ask, and you work just as hard as you expect them to work – it makes a difference. We all come together because everybody working together will always accomplish much.
Are you singing outside of school too?
Yes, I’m singing at church. Many times they say, “Mercy, we understand why you have a day job.” But I love to sing. I think when we feel good, we clean better, you do better. It becomes easy and then, before you know it, if they don’t hear you singing, they think something’s wrong: “Miss Mercy, why aren’t you singing?”
I’m going to tell you a secret. The fifth-graders wrote a note. They know how I am about the restrooms. They shouldn’t write on the walls, but I can’t bring myself to erase it, even though I know by September it has to be erased. And I couldn’t get mad at them. I left it up there this entire summer. You know when you’re having a tough day, you go in there and you read it.
What does it say?
That I made them feel special and that’s the toughest part of leaving this school.
It’s all about the children and how you make them feel.