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The City Journals

‘Granite Park is part of me’ says head custodian retiring after 19 years

Jun 29, 2020 11:25AM ● By Bill Hardesty

Guy Marlowe, retired 19-year GPJHS Head Custodian, among his beloved school tulips. (Courtesy of Jeanine Marlowe)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

After 19 years at Granite Park Junior High school, head custodian Guy Marlowe retired at the end of the school year.

Marlowe started with the Granite School District (GSD) in 1995 at Churchill Junior High. After a nine-year stint at Truman Elementary, he came to GPJHS as it moved from the now Lincoln Elementary and took over the old Central High School.

One definition for custodian is guardian. Marlowe truly was a guardian of GPJHS.

“Granite Park is part of me,” Marlowe said.

It should be. There isn’t an inch of the school that he hasn’t touched from the tunnels running under the school to the top of the auditorium.

Memories

Marlowe told about the fun when an episode of the long-running TV show “Touched by an Angel” was filmed at GPJHS.

He also remembered finding a plaque that listed World War II veterans who attended Central High School. A veteran assembly was held to honor them, which started a three-year tradition of a Veteran’s Day assembly.

A final memory is for four years, a Baptist youth group, The World Changers, came in during the summer and made GPJHS home. The group performed community service throughout the city.

“It was a bit weird to see a cross in the auditorium,” Marlowe said.

Living through history

Marlowe was there from the beginning of the new GPJHS when 900 students from various parts of the city were forced to be together. Territorial behavior and fights were common. The school had the highest tardy count.

Rob McDaniel came in as a mid-year replacement. He is credited with turning the school around.

Under McDaniel, the school went from a 40-50% teacher turnover rate and only 7 out of 10 students attending to leading the district in many key indicators. This allowed teachers and administrators to spend less time on behavior and more time teaching students.

“He made school fun. One of the things I would do is quiz kids in the lunch line. If they got the curriculum-based question correct, they went to the front of the line,” Marlowe said.

On bad weather days, Marlowe would push back the tables in the lunchroom and have jump rope or hula hoop contests.

“Today, I am proud to point out to visitors that during class time the halls are empty, and you can hear teachers teaching,” Marlowe said.

Jack of trades

Besides his custodial duties, Marlowe was the stage crew for many years. He ran the sound system and the lights for assemblies and other presentations.

He was also a first responder at school. If there was an accident, he would respond and assess what further action should be taken including calling 911.

“I always tried to make the school a safe and secure place for the faculty and students,” Marlowe said.

For many years, his work was recognized by receiving a gold award for cleanliness from GSD inspectors.