You may be surprised to learn that at 81 years old, the thought of retirement isn’t even on Herbert Perkinson’s mind.

In fact, the humble, determined custodian and former truck driver, who calls Woodland Middle School his second home, would be quite happy with a promotion and the additional job responsibilities that come with it.

“We were all disappointed when we wanted to offer him the head custodian position last school year but found out a high school diploma or GED was required,” said Woodland Middle School Principal Michael Blankenship.

“I told him that it’s never too late. The next thing I know, he comes to me and tells me he’s got a study guide and is going to take the test to get his GED.”

At that moment, summer sweat took on a whole new meaning. While Perkinson was familiar with full-time summer custodial work and landscaping, he was not used to regular library visits with his daughter and grandson to review high school mathematics, social studies, science, reading, and writing.

However, at the close of summer, Perkinson passed at least two tests to receive the coveted piece of paper.

“I’ll never forget the smile on his face when he came to tell me he had passed the test,” Blankenship said.

“This is what we’re about. Learning for all, even an 81-year-old custodian.”

“He’s always talking about that job,” said Lenora Perkinson, Herbert’s wife. “I’m so proud of him.”

Perkinson, a retired truck driver, switched gears in 2015 and has been working in Bartow County schools ever since.

Now, school leaders are celebrating Perkinson’s accomplishments and working to refund the cost of the test, plus offer him the head custodian position for the 2020-2021 school year.

“I am so happy for Herbert,” Blankenship said. “What an example for our students.

This should inspire all of us.”

With no plans of retirement, Perkinson will continue to be a physical reminder to Woodland Middle School students and staff that you can achieve any goal you set for yourself.

“I couldn’t have done it without help from Principal Blankenship and my daughter,” Perkinson said. “I’m glad I can serve as a role model to some.

“Just recently, my young grandson came to me about not wanting to finish school. After I told him my story, he’s determined to go to college.”


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