Wing students, teachers surprise school custodian with 80th birthday party

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 2:11 PM CDT
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WING, N.D. – Birthdays are a big deal and worth celebrating. Just ask the teachers and kids at Wing School.

They worked hard to plan a surprise party for a very special staff members’ big day.

This wasn’t what Dale Olson was expecting to find in the Wing school cafeteria. Staff told him there was a water leak; that’s when the school custodian got a little suspicious.

“I kind of thought something was up,” Olson admitted.

But he didn’t expect this – the whole school gathered to wish him a happy 80th birthday.

“No, I didn’t think of that,” he said.

Olson has been working as a janitor here for about four years. Before that, he spent 27 years driving school bus. He’s pretty sure he’s found the fountain of youth here, at Wing school, surrounded by kids.

The kids greet you in the hallway and stuff so yeah, it helps,” he said. “It makes you feel better when you’re feeling down and then you come and see all the kids it picks you up and makes you feel better.”

“He’s always loved kids,” said Olson’s daughter, LaDawna Winkler.

And kids, well, they love him.

“He’s the best janitor in the world!” declared second grader Cooper Quale.

“He’s pretty cool,” said seventh grader Megan Hertz.

“He’s a hard worker,” added Savannah Fischer, a seventh grader.

His hard work does not go unnoticed.

“He’s always working, and I notice that our floors are always very clean,” said seventh grader Hudson Wolff.

“He keeps everything going,” said preschool and kindergarten teacher Brittany Quale.

He’s proud to take care of this school. It’s got a lot of meaning to him.

“This is the school I went to all the way through,” said Olson.

Olson graduated from Wing High School in 1960, the second of four generations to graduate here.

As he celebrates his 80th birthday, nothing could be further from his thoughts than retirement.

“As long as I can do the work. I’ll keep working. However long that is I don’t know,” he said.

Because to Olson, age is just a number.

“I have no reason to quit,” he said.

Olson works a split shift at the school. He’s in every morning by about 6, then goes home for a long lunch and then goes back to work for a few hours at the end of the school day.

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