11-year-old student helps school custodian and learns value of job well done

Dylan and Mr. Frank have bonded after an hour a day together for the past three months. (Photo credit: John Le, WLOS)

News 13's Person of the Week is only 11 years old. Even so, Dylan Rollins is leading by example at Sugarloaf Elementary in Henderson County.

Back in January, he realized he could do more for his school and his head custodian, Frank Conner. So, Dylan volunteered to lend a hand by sweeping the floors and vacuuming.

"I used to just sit in the couch in the office, and one morning I just asked if I could start helping," he said. "Instead of sitting there."

He's been back every single morning since.

In a veil of darkness at Sugarloaf Elementary, the early bird usually gets the work. "Pretty much, ha ha," Frank Conner told News 13. "I got my morning routine."

Conner is the first one in the building, but lately, Dylan's not too far behind.

About an hour before each school day, his dad's van pulls up just as the sun comes out. That's when the man known simply as "Mr. Frank" gets to see a ray of sunshine.

"He considers all three of the custodians his good buds!" Mr. Frank said with a kind-hearted laugh.

Dylan is a fifth-grade breath of fresh air.

"Good morning, Dylan!" Frank said, greeting his helper on Wednesday. "You want to do your normal routine?"

Turns out Dylan's routine is far above the norm.

"I've always enjoyed this kind of work," he said, pushing a broom. "I like helping people."

Months later, Dylan and his knock knock jokes keep on coming to the door.

"That big smile on his face, kindly warms my soul," Frank said.

An hour a day with the custodian teaches the boy the value of a job well done.

"Especially the way the world is today, we need good leaders," Frank said.

The labor also reinforces what Dylan's learned at home.

"Probably my father," he said. "He works constantly so we can have a good life."

"That boy's in here early every day!" marveled teacher Janet Covington.

"Dylan is an extraordinary young man," she said. "He's a very hard worker and he wants to give back to our school."

"I'll have to give him credit," Frank said to Dylan, affectionately. "He's one of the better ones."

Along the way, the chores led to a cherished mentor.

"Yeah, he's a wonderful kid," the custodian said. "Trustworthy."

Which makes it that much harder to say so long. Dylan's last day at Sugarloaf is in June. Next year, it's on to middle school.

"He's taught me how to do a lot of stuff," the boy said of "Mr. Frank."

Frank admits he'll miss his smiling sidekick.

"Real bad," he told News 13. "As a matter of fact, I've told him and some of the teachers you can not move up, we're going to hold you here, haha."

Barring a teacher intervention, they have precious few days together.

"You got Pop Tarts this morning," Frank said, handing Dylan a S'mores flavored pastry. "He works pretty cheap."

One sweet gesture deserves another, and this about as sweet as it gets.

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