Salmon Arm West Elementary custodian Connie Schikowski is thanked and appreciated by her co-workers on June 2 as ‘Queen of Clean’ for all her efforts cleaning the school during the COVID-19 break, and always. (Photo contributed)

‘Queen of Clean’ recognized by staff at Salmon Arm West Elementary

Custodian surprised by special appreciation shown her by co-workers

“Queen of Clean.”

Connie Schikowski laughs when she’s asked about the title.

It’s one she hadn’t been bestowed with until June 2.

Schikowski is the custodian at Salmon Arm West Elementary.

On Tuesday, June 2, she had been admiring a hanging basket one of her co-workers had brought into the school. The co-worker disappeared, and Schikowski was hoping to get a chance to ask her where she got it.

Then a teacher asked her if she would come outside for a moment.

Thinking there was something to clean up, she asked if she’d need her cart.

No, was the answer, so she was puzzling over what was needed as she stepped outside.

There she found the principal and teachers, social distancing, with a surprise for her.

“I was so flabbergasted, I didn’t know what to think… I was at a loss for words.”

A teacher placed a queenly crown on her head and presented her with a Queen of Clean sash.

Principal David Wellingham said kind words about her.

Staff gave her the beautiful hanging basket; she was the intended recipient all along.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

Read more: About one-sixth of students in School District 83 choose to ‘restart’ June 1

Read more: Letters of gratitude: South Canoe Elementary students give thanks to essential workers

Read more: Central Okanagan School District provides nearly 7,000 meals to students

Wellingham explains that when schools were closed for COVID-19, Schikowski did an extraordinary cleaning job.

“Connie is extremely diligent with keeping the school clean at all times. However, over the time when we’ve been out of school for seven weeks, she really went above and beyond to clean everything in the school that doesn’t normally get cleaned.

“I really felt it helped the anxiety level of staff coming back, seeing and recognizing how clean the school was for them to come to.”

He said her work allowed staff to concentrate on student learning.

“I think this time more than others, we wanted to recognize and show our appreciation for what she’s done. Everyone, with their hearts and minds where they are with COVID, it meant a lot more knowing she’s at the school doing what she does.”

Schikowski is equally flattering about school staff.

“David, our boss here, he’s super good with a super heart. All of the people here are really, really great, the best co-workers I’ve ever had. They’re just super people. They support you whenever you need it and they’re always willing to give a hand.”

“Wanda Weninger is our secretary here – she’s our girl Friday. Anytime any of us have a problem, we go to her and David, they’re our front runners.”

Asked what inspires her to do such an exemplary job, Schikowski paused for a moment.

“I believe it would be the kids. Keeping it clean for those kids. And my co-workers. They’re a great, great bunch here.”

Schikowski’s fame has spread. School District 83 wrote a story about Salmon Arm West’s appreciation for her, which was shared by the Ministry of Education as a ‘good news in education’ feature.

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Co-workers of Salmon Arm West custodian Connie Schikowski surprise her with a crown, sash and hanging basket on June 2 for all her work getting the school immaculately clean after the COVID-19 break. (Photo contributed)

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