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Georgia 5th grader uses his mornings to help custodians, other students every day before class

"She works so hard, and the breakfast area can get dirty quick with the younger kids eating," the 5th grader said.
Credit: Bartow County Schools

BARTOW COUNTY, Ga. — Instead of socializing with friends, or rolling out of bed in the morning, one Bartow County elementary school student decides to pick up a broom, or mop, and get to work.

A spokesperson with the Bartow County School System said Gabe Belberena, a 5th grader at Taylorsville Elementary School, dedicates his mornings to helping Mary Alfaro, the lead custodian at the school's Tiger Paw Café.

"I just want to help our custodian, Ms. Mary," Belberena said in a statement from the school system. "She works so hard, and the breakfast area can get dirty quick with the younger kids eating. Also, some kids are so disrespectful and don’t clean up after themselves."

Belberena starts his cleaning routine at 7:30 a.m. every morning, and continues working until the ring of the morning bell that signals the start of class sounds, according to Bartow Schools.

Alfaro said the student's diligence, and drive to help was shocking at first. 

"I’m also proud. Other kids can learn from him," she said.

Other kids are following suit. Students as young as five years old are taking to Belberena's side to assist him in the mornings. Principal Kevin Muldoon said in a statement Belberena exemplifies the characteristics of a model student "inside the classroom and out."

"He has a good heart, cares deeply for people, and is a diligent worker. We are proud of the young man Gabe is becoming," Muldoon said.

Belberena added life is all about helping others in need.

"And if there’s someone who can’t open their milk carton, I’m there, too, helping them," he said.