Powhatan teachers honor school custodian - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Powhatan teachers honor school custodian


"She going to think it's a normal day in the art room," said teacher Heather Kunka. 

But today's art project is something out of the ordinary, Powhatan Teacher of the Year Heather Kunka has planned a presentation for the friend she calls the bright spot in her day. 

"Ms. Alma and I usually talk in the morning, I get here fairly early," she said. 

She's prepped her elementary school students. 

KUNKA: "And when she comes into the room, we're going to say what?"
STUDENTS: "Thank you Mrs. Alma!" 

She's even gotten other teachers and administrators on board. They're eager to support the woman they all consider the Warriors MVP. 

"Most of us, this is our second home and as it being our second, she takes care of our second home," Kunka said. 

Since Flat Rock Elementary opened four years ago, Alma Fleming has been woman the entire school has come to rely on. 

"When we need something, Ms. Alma's right there. If we need a door unlocked, if someone has an accident…she takes care of the children in the cafeteria, she's just quite a wonderful person," she explained. 

The quiet custodian with the warm smile and caring spirit is often the first person on the job.  

"She beats me in, so she's here before 7 a.m. She puts in a full day and then she goes to her second job, and I don't believe that she ever really gets a day off," said Kunka. 

She's been forced to take time off due to surgery; her friend says it's been a physical and financial challenge. 

KUNKA: "I'm hoping it will help with the medical expenses, I mean she's had some issue other than just medical issues. Her car finally died, that had to be replaced. That's financially devastating."
SABRINA: "$100, $200, $300."  

And we are ready to pay it forward. Heather says Ms. Alma has takes care of everyone else; it's time she let them take care of her a bit.   

MS. ALMA: "Oh, y'all tricked me,"
KUNKA: "Come on in Ms. Alma...alright boys and girls."
STUDENTS: "Thank you Ms. Alma!"  

With paper towels in hand, it's clear she was expecting a typical art class cleanup project. 

KUNKA: "Yes...this is for the mother of my second home. She takes care of all of us, the kids, the faculty, the administration, everybody here and she does it with this beautiful smile every day. Thank you so much."
MS. ALMA: "You're welcome."
KUNKA: "Alright $100, $200, $300..."
MS. ALMA: "Oh gosh, thank everyone!" 

Ms. Alma says Flat Rock students and staff have become as close as kinfolk.  

MS. ALMA: "They are my family."
SABRINA: "Did they surprise you today?"
MS. ALMA: "They did surprise me." 

As for the cash, no real surprise here…"Maybe gas," she said. 

Ms. Alma says she's grateful to her Flat Rock family. 

"They were all very kind people here and when I first came to Flat Rock Elementary, I had a goal and that was to win their hearts here and I think I have," said Ms. Alma. 

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