Forest Glen Head Custodian Clarence Clemons Retires Without Missing a Day of Work
Writer / Noah Alatza
Clarence Clemons has been busy working inside schools for the past 34 years. In 20 of those years, he’s never missed a single day on the job. Recently, he retired with that perfect attendance.
He has been with Forest Glen Elementary School for the past nine years, and says he credits his perfect attendance to the family environment the school provides.
“I just enjoyed my job,” he says. “We are one of the schools that has a family-type environment even though it’s a learning facility. We have one big relationship between the teachers and staff and it makes a big difference.”
Clemons says he was inspired by his family members including his parents and grandparents, who instilled hard work into him from a young age.
“From cutting the grass and shoveling snow with my older brother, I was always dependable and trusted by the community,” he says. “I was always the one saying I’m dedicated and going to work, and as long as I’m in good health and have a positive attitude to make other people’s day, I was going to be at work.”
He says he credits his perfect attendance to having that positive attitude each and every day.
“We all make mistakes, but we have another day to learn,” he says. “Attitude is critical for making other people feel good and pulling them together to make it possible. It’s that teamwork that makes the dream work.”
Clemons has made an impact on the students. Assistant Principal Jane Giles says Clemons was a role model for not just the school, but also for the community as a whole.
“Even after all those years, he still went that extra mile,” Giles says. “He was a true role model for our kiddos and so willing to help out. If we had a student having a hard time separating from parents, he would step in. He’s a great guy all the way around.”
Giles says the school leaders created a morning helpers program with Clemons last year, to help struggling students.
“It gives them the ability to feel important and needed,” she says.
Clemons says his job wouldn’t have been possible without the support of every department in the school.
“I’d never be able to make this possible without them,” he says. “They went the extra mile and have helped me tremendously. Schools are so busy and we are like a second home to these students, so it’s important to play a role in their lives. You have to have that love for that job because you’re helping a kid grow, and pushing their dreams so they can succeed and be the best they can be.”
After all these years, with help from others, Clemons stands as a role model and a true success story. Just look at that attendance record.
“Again, teamwork is dream work and that’s what inspired me to get up every day and come to work,” he says.