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'Miss Pat' keeps William James tip top
Head custodian and crew have respect of entire school
Student of week
The William James Middle School custodial staff is led by Patricia Allen. Pictured, left to right are: Allen, Mary Walker and Thelma Cooper. - photo by ROGER ALLEN/special
    At William James Middle School, everyone knows to look out for “Miss Pat.” Students and teachers alike know that head custodian Patricia Allen is very protective of “her school.”     After all, she's been at William James for 19 years.
    Allen comes from a large and close-knit family. She has four daughters — Carletta, Melinda, Donna and Marshay — and all graduated from Statesboro High. Her grandmother lives in Savannah, and is still quite active at the age of 99.
    Allen has a hard-working crew that is the first to arrive and the last to leave at William james. Everyone knows their job, and rarely does she find something amiss. The crew is short-handed at the moment, with just Allen, Thelma Cooper and Mary Walker. They do have a substitute who helps them on occasion.
    Principal Mike Yawn knows Allen well. When he first started teaching at William James, he found her patrolling the halls.
    “She's a task-master,” he said. “Her crew knows their duties and she expects them to get it done.”
    Yawn continued: “The main reason that I think they're unsung heroes is that everyone takes their efforts for granted. Our custodians have a huge area that they must keep spotless. Miss Pat always sees that the job gets done so well that everyone has grown accustomed to their near perfection.”
    Two veteran teachers agree.
    “We've been together a long time,” Becky Renfro said. “Miss Pat always sees to it that the school is as clean as its supposed to be, all the while being real easy to get along with and very helpful whenever asked.”
    Teacher Jackie Jackson added: “She's a very kind and generous individual, who's always helping out when she's something extra that needs to get done. She's very understanding, although you learn to walk softly when someone's got her mad.”
    Her crew respects her greatly.
    Mary Walker said, “Miss Pat makes sure we do our jobs, so that the kids will be safe.”
    Thelma Cooper said: “This is a great school. The people here appreciate what Miss Pat and the rest of us do, and they show us respect.”

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