After nearly four decades, the beloved custodian at North Shore Plaza School has retired.
“We love you Jordis,” a student said quietly as she handed ‘Grandma Jordis’ a card.
“Love you too, honey,” Jordis replied.
Jordis Lee beams with Plaza pride.
“I was born on the farm here in Plaza, so you know I’m pretty old,” she said. “[I] didn’t have to go to the hospital to be born. My grandma took care of that.”
Now, she’s the grandma that takes care of the teachers and students to come through Plaza School.
“More than just being the janitor, she loves this school,” kindergarten teacher Heather Braaflat said.
“She’s very, very sweet and just dear to the school and the people that are here and stuff,” added Addison Bugbee, an eighth-grader. “I feel like we’re going to miss her while she’s gone.”
“She’s very sweet and kind,” said sixth-grade student Addison Wheeling, “She makes sure everybody’s okay and happy.”
“She is everybody’s grandma, mother, friend, confidant, and just an all-around great person,” fourth-grade teacher Angie Bersaw said.
Being ‘Grandma Jordis’ is just the way she is.
She says she loves kids and people and finds joy just being around them.
While her official job title is custodian, she’s so much more than that.
“I’ve loved every minute of this job,” Jordis said…and ‘Grandma Jordis’ is loved by all.
Her colleagues said she loves Christmas, decorating, donuts, and of course, the school, so that was all incorporated into her special retirement celebration.
The school made do with social distancing, and each class was able to bid farewell.
This year, there are more than 200 students enrolled at the school.
Jordis has been there for the past 37 years, growing to love hundreds of kids along the way.
She said, “Being here every day to kind of see how their day is going, that’s what I’m going to miss the most.”
On her last day of work, the memories flooded in.
(Jordis reading a text message) “Congratulations on your retirement. I want to thank you for helping me from finding a place to hide and take naps on game day in the 90s, to taking care of my kids today…”
Her retirement plans include visiting family in Sioux Falls and Fargo, but her Lewis and Clark School District family will always be close to her.
“I’m real happy that I could go this far, this long, and have this good health so I can do my job,” Jordis said. “But I’m sad that I won’t be here every day to see the kids…but I’m not leaving home. I’ll be in Plaza and I will see these kids grow up.”
You may notice, there’s more video of kids in this story (above) than there actually is of Jordis…and that’s because, to her, that’s what it’s all about. The kids.
Jordis already plans on going back to the school to volunteer, or substitute – or fit in wherever she’s needed.