By Jim Buice
The Clemmons Courier
It’s a time-honored tradition for students to dedicate their school yearbook to a person who most impacted and influenced their education. More times than not, a teacher gets the nod.
But that’s not the case this year at Lewisville Elementary School. Departing fifth-graders went in a different selection, selecting custodian Jimmy Joyner for the honor.
Joyner was recognized last Thursday afternoon in the school’s packed auditorium as students roared their approval. Eight students read their personal dedications as a surprised Joyner and his family (who were obviously informed so they could be there for the special occasion) looked on from the front row.
“I would like to dedicate this yearbook to Mr. Joyner, our custodian,” Katie Bryant said. “Let’s face it: Our school would be a mess without him. He is hard-working, talented and super nice. Whenever I see him, he always asks me how I am and if I’m OK.”
Some of the others had similar kind things to say.
“When Mr. Joyner is talking to a teacher and I walk by, he will always tell that teacher, ‘That right there is my best friend,’ ” Madison Harrington said. “Mr. Joyner is my hero, and I don’t know what I would do without him.”
Then there was this from Nathan Ricks: “He is nice, funny and can put a smile on anyone’s face. He inspires me and always helps me with my problems. He always asks about me. He helps me up with I fall. He’s a great role model. To me, he’s like a father figure. And the most important thing is that he cares.”
An emotional Joyner was then asked to come forward to accept the yearbook to a thunderous standing ovation.
“I want to say something here,” Joyner said. “I don’t know how far I’ll get, but I really love you.”
Even afterward, Joyner, a retired driver for Greyhound Lines and Old Dominion Freight Lines before coming to work for the school system in 2005, had trouble expressing himself.
“They really caught me by surprise,” he said.
When asked what the honor meant to him, Joyner simply said: “Words can’t say it.”
Cathey Cann, assistant principal, said that Joyner was most desiring.
“He’s always smiling, always doing whatever needs to be done,” she said. “He’s such a positive and inspirational person.”
Principal Debbie Hampton said Joyner is an example of a person committed to his job and not just there for a paycheck.
“I have to say that Mr. Joyner touches my heart with his dedication to our school,” Hampton said. “He really cares about you, about me, our teachers and the quality of the cleanliness of our building. He takes great pride in his work.
“I have also heard the rumor that Mr. Joyner might be retiring after school starts next year. I’m trying to talk him out of it. We will certainly miss him if he does make that decision to retire, but we will understand and celebrate with him at the same time.”