Home > News > Archive > 29th November 2007

Caretaker takes real pride in school - despite setbacks

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Charysse Vedder
PEKERAU caretaker Charysse Vedder will be making sure something special goes in the LJ Hooker Supreme Award planter box at Pekerau School. Pekerau pupils (rear) give her a helping hand by putting weeds into the caretakerís trolley. 333071AD

By Cathy Asplin

Pekerau School caretaker Charysse Vedder was keen to take out the Best Kept School title at the Keep Te Awamutu Beautiful Awards this year.

She was delighted when the school was called out as the winner - but was unable to collect the sign to hang outside Pekerau School, as it had been stolen from outside Te Awamutu Primary during the year. Her disappointment was quickly erased, however, when the Supreme Award was announced. Pekerau picked up the top accolade at the awards evening and collected the LJ Hooker copper planter to use at the school.

When you talk to Ms Vedder about her job you realise she probably deserves a gold medal as well for her efforts. Pekerau School is frequently the target of youths looking for something to destroy or tag.

“I often come to school to find plants I have just put in the gardens have been pulled out and thrown around, stolen or destroyed. Sometimes there’s graffiti everywhere that has to be painted over and other times it’s windows smashed. It’s very disheartening - they all take time to repair and when you’ve put a lot of time and effort into the school you wonder whether it’s worth it sometimes. I think that’s why the previous caretaker quit.”

So the question begging to be asked is why continue?

"I take a lot of pride in my job and in the school. My son attended this school, I was a cleaner for four years here and have been caretaker for five years. I like to see the school looking good - inside and out - and I enjoy working in the gardens to improve them each year. I’ve already got a plan in place for the next year to make them even better.”

Out of town judges were impressed with the neat, tidy appearance of the school and enjoyed the clever planting employed. Pekerau School principal John Cubitt was also very pleased with the award and delighted for his caretaker.

“She takes great pride in her work and we’re determined that we’re not going to let a few people in the community spoil all that hard work. Our pupils also take a lot of pride in their school and many would love to spend the day helping Charysse. If a ball goes into the garden you can see them looking around for her to retrieve it, because they don’t want to damage the plants.”