SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) –It was an emotional last day of school at Lowell Elementary in Sioux Falls. Graduating 5th graders and departing staff rang a bell outside one last time. But they weren’t the only ones saying good-bye.
At Lowell Elementary, summer starts with the ring of a bell.
“It’s a passing of time. It’s the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another chapter, so they’re ending their elementary school years and beginning the new adventures of going on to something different, such as middle school,” Lowell Elementary Principal Diane Kennedy said.
As students ring the bell, someone else got to take a turn.
“They’re always walking up and giving them a hug, and it’s actually very special,” custodian Terry Voigt said.
Voigt has been the custodian for Lowell elementary for 32 years. Today, he graduated into retirement.
“I got family all over the southern parts of the States, so I’ll probably drive down there in the wintertime. Spend time down there, and come back here and visit family and friends,” Voigt said.
“He not only cares about the building, he cares a lot about the kids and the staff in the building. He takes a lot of pride in what he does, he works hard, and his main goal is to make sure our building is safe and clean for the staff and students as they start their new year,” Kennedy said.
While school’s out for Voigt, Lowell Elementary won’t forget his impact.
“He keeps the school nice and clean and he’s been nice to all of us, and he’s just fun,” graduating 5th grader Korben Hofer said.
“He’s always there greeting the kids. The kids like to go up and give him hugs and give him high-fives. He’s kind of been a main staple in our building,” Kennedy said.
“But to see kids smiling and making them happy, fixing their jacket, getting their boot off the roof because they kicked it up there was really enjoyable,” Voigt said.
Voigt is planning on packing up and driving his RV across the country into Florida where most of his family lives.