Longtime Hillsborough school custodian sweeps up praise on last day before retirement

Something Good

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — School custodians don’t often get the praise they deserve. They put in long hours cleaning up after children – who can make some pretty big messes!

But Barbara Pena, the head custodian at Mango Elementary School in Seffner, spent 35 years doing just that. She was recently honored with a badge upgrade, exchanging her “30 years of service” pin for one reflecting her 35 years of service to the school system.

Pena was taken by the surprise by the honor because she reached the 35-year mark just as she approached retirement. But Hillsborough County Schools couldn’t let her dedication go unnoticed.

Pena says she wasn’t sure how she felt as she approached her retirement day. She summed it up this way, “I am happy, but I’m sad!”

Hillsborough County Schools’ Custodial Operations Manager Harlan Ware’s response was perfect.

“After 35 years you deserve to feel however you want!” he joked.

Barbara Pena, you’re something good!

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