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Custodial staff working hard to prepare Rayburn for the start of the school year

Custodians are making sure that Rayburn Middle School is clean and safe when students return to school on Monday, even as construction continues on several buildings.

Construction crews are racing at Sam Rayburn Middle School. They have their work cut out for them demolishing and replacing three of the school’s main buildings.

The middle school has been under construction all summer with an enormous amount of dust and debris left behind. The extensive construction work cut off power and air conditioning to the school for months.

But there's a special group of people working hard to ensure the campus is safe and clean when students arrive on Monday: the custodial team at Rayburn Middle School.

Head custodian Elias Cervantes has worked at Rayburn for 30 years. Surrounded by his team Thursday, he said this summer was one of the busiest of his career.

“It was a hard summer because we had no power, and we all had to work extra hard,” Cervantes said. “But we got it done for the kids, teachers, administrators.”

Principal Dr. Scott Mckenzie has seen the group put in extra work all summer.

“We would be nowhere near ready if the custodians didn't do the efforts that they did. The team of eight was just unbelievable,” Dr. Mckenzie said. “The custodians took it upon themselves to clean buildings with no power. They ran an extension cord from one building into another, with no lights, no air conditioning, and very little ventilation.”

A video created by the school’s staff members shows how the group pieced together a 500-foot extension cord from one side of the building to another. At the other end of it: shiny floors.

“They are an example of what the world should be,” Dr. Mckenzie said. “My grandpa was a custodian, so I have a special place in my heart for them and I know they don't get the recognition they deserve.”

The new buildings won't be ready until next school year, which means this crew will have to work double-time to keep things tidy around campus. And with so much more to get done before the start of school on Monday, Dr. Mckenzie says that there's no doubt, he's got the right team for the tough job.

“They are the best example of a team I can imagine,” Dr. Mckenzie said. “I'm just so proud of them.”

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