A Bucks County custodian was honored Monday after winning the nationwide “Janitor of the Year” contest.
Ted Qualli Jr., a janitor at Newtown Elementary School, won the competition after receiving more than 379,300 (42.2 percent) of the total 898,200 votes.
“As a veteran, he can be seen showing his old uniform to students on Veteran’s Day and teaching them about his service to our country,” contest organizers wrote. “He is also an avid gardener and each year brings in plants lovingly grown in his home garden for every student and teaches them how to care for them. But perhaps the most impressive thing about Ted? He calls every one of Newtown’s 850 students by name.”
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Qualli received a $5,000 cash prize during an assembly at Newtown Elementary School Monday afternoon. Newtown Elementary will also receive $5,000 in products and services from Cintas Corporation and Rubbermaid Commercial Products.
Children and parents first nominated Qualli for the nationwide competition earlier this year.
“He’s the most generous and kind human being,” one woman said during Monday’s ceremony. “They don’t make them like him anymore.”
Qualli is a popular figure at the school and students regularly chant his last name whenever they see him in the building. That chant was heard loud and clear as Qualli received his award.
“I’m so overwhelmed and so appreciative,” Qualli said while fighting back tears. “And I just want to say thank you.”