Beloved AES custodian ‘makes all of the kids feel welcome’

To the students and staff at the Alamosa Elementary 3-5 Building, Freddy Lawrence is a superhero. His unique power is simply caring for others.

Lawrence was recognized on Tuesday with the Educator Highlight Award presented each month by the Adams State School of Education. He is the first school custodian to be selected for the award and judging by the serenading he received from students, a hugely popular selection.

“He makes all of the kids feel welcome. Every kid feels like they can go to him and ask him for any help,” said Leah Shawcroft, one of the teachers who nominated Lawrence for the award.

“He gets at least 600 high-fives a day,” she said. “Every kid feels like they know him and are special to him. That’s special because we have so many kids and for each kid to feel like they have a place here is awesome.”

Freddy Lawrence and Alamosa Elementary students
Freddy Lawrence with his biggest fans.

Color Lawrence humbled by the recognition. When Adams State’s Chrissy McKinney made the surprise presentation along with Curtis Garcia, director of the Adams State School of Education, the students cheered and Lawrence choked up.

“I didn’t know I was even involved in this stuff,” the senior custodian said. “My purpose is honestly for the kids. I’m here for the kids every day and try to do my best and try to be here for them for whatever they need. I was not expecting this at all. Thank you everybody.”

AES 3-5 Principal Michelle Rubidoux-Wilson wasn’t surprised that Adams State chose to honor the school’s custodian. Nor was she surprised by the reaction among students who performed a song for Lawrence with their youthful voices and through sign language that the students are learning.

Rubidoux-Wilson said she has worked with Lawrence since he started his custodial job at the old Polston Elementary School more than 20 years ago. It was five years ago that he was promoted to chief custodian at the Alamosa Elementary 3-5 Building.

His work ethic, said the school principal, is off the charts. “He’s just overall really amazing. Everybody needs a Freddy, but you can’t have ours.”

Every day, educators in the Valley make a difference to our kids and families. To make a nomination for the Adams State Educator Highlight Award, please please fill out this nomination form. Anyone can make a nomination.

Past winners:

Presley Garcia, Monte Vista special education teacher, January;
Nick Dionisio, Alamosa High English teacher, February;
Aaron Miltenberger, Boys & Girls Club executive director, March;
Anna Bishop, Center High School CLD teacher, April;
Phyllis Vigil, Sierra Grande first-grade teacher, May;
AlexAndria Moore-Guenter, Moffat Schools secondary counselor, June:
Omar Gonzalez, Alamosa Elementary, July;
Leanna Brazel, Alamosa, Elementary Kindergarten teacher, August;


This monthly award recognizes Adams State University School of Education alumni, prominent local teachers, and other educators working within or hailing from the San Luis Valley. In so doing, Adams State University hopes to build familiarity with the community as a serious destination for future educators.