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OAES Head Custodian Celebrated June 11

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OAES Head Custodian Celebrated June 11
Posted on 06/11/2021
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On June 11, Ocean Avenue Elementary School held a surprise ceremony to celebrate school lead custodian Donna Colello for earning a finalist nomination in the 2021 Custodian of the Year award sponsored by Cintas Corp. Her hard work, kindness and passion earned her the prestigious nomination earlier this year.

Cintas representatives, students, school and district staff and Superintendent Xavier Botana gathered at the school as Colello was presented with a $1,000 check from Cintas for not only her hard work and dedication during the contest, but throughout her tenure at Ocean Avenue School. Donna also is eligible for free tuition to one ISSA Cleaning Management Institute training event, valued at $1,500.

This is the eighth annual Custodian of the Year contest for Cintas, an Ohio-based company providing specialized products and services to businesses. Colello was the only finalist from the Northeast and one of only two women to make it to the top 10 nationwide. Despite a tremendous online voting effort by Mainers in the Portland community and statewide, Colello fell short of winning the $10,000 cash prize. Still, her school and the Portland Public Schools community are thrilled that this standout custodian made it as far as she did.

"In our eyes, Donna Colello is clearly a winner," said Superintendent Xavier Botana. "We are extremely grateful to Donna, one of our most respected, hardworking custodians. She not only provides dedicated service to students and staff at Ocean Avenue School but also has been a district leader in figuring out ways to best keep our school buildings safe during the pandemic. We are so proud of her for making it to the top 10 in this national contest and she is so deserving of this further surprise recognition today. Congratulations, Donna, and thank you for all you do!"

The winner of the Cintas contest this year was Mike Heiry, a custodian in the North Allegheny School District in Pennsylvania, an 8,500-student school district north of Pittsburgh.

Learn more about Colello and her nomination HERE

The Portland Public Schools is Maine’s largest school district, with 6,500 students, and is also the most diverse. About one-third of the district’s students come from homes where languages other than English are spoken—a total of more than 60 languages. 52 percent of the district’s students are white and 48 percent are students of color. Approximately half of PPS students qualify for free or reduced school meals