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Retiring Bonita School Lead Custodian David Larsen was honored at the Nov. 18 meeting of the Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Board of Trustees.

CROWS LANDING - A beloved staff member at Bonita School in Crows Landing has retired after tending to the campus for more than 25 years.

David Larsen went about his daily routine as lead custodian for the last time Friday, Nov. 22, before seeing students and staff off to their Thanksgiving holiday and entering a new chapter in his life.

Larsen is only the second custodian to serve Bonita since the current school building opened in 1974, he told Mattos Newspapers.

At Bonita, he noted, the job goes beyond custodial duties to encompass grounds keeping responsibilities and basic maintenance chores.....and requires a willingness to tackle whatever job is at hand.

But, he reflected, the setting suited him well.

“I just liked being kind of my own boss. You have bosses, but if something didn’t get done you just look in the mirror,” Larsen explained. “If it didn’t get done, you didn’t get it done.”

Principal Brandi Petersen said Larsen went above and beyond his stated duties, and in doing so enriched a campus known for its close-knit, supportive environment.

“He gives it his all every day. He is key to our safety and security, comfort, healthy work environment and beautiful grounds,” Petersen commented.

Larsen has also been a positive role model for Bonita students, she said.

“The students here adore him. They look up to him,” Petersen said. “He has special fist bumps, and pretends that he is going to sweep them up with his broom or blow them away with his leaf blower. He makes the children at Bonita feel special with a smile and a kind word.”

Larsen went to work for the school district in January 1992 as the night custodian at the old Yolo Middle School. Ten months later, he moved up to Bonita and has been at the Crows Landing campus ever since.

“It wasn’t easy in the first few years. I pretty much had to learn as I went,” he shared, adding that in those early years he was also responsible for maintaining the Bonita pool, before the district turned it over to Stanislaus County.

While he tried to tackle as many projects by himself as possible, Larsen noted, he had the support of district maintenance and grounds personnel should major issues arise.

He said he enjoyed being part of the Bonita community.

All schools are family in a sense, Larsen reflected, but at Bonita “it is a little smaller and the family is a

 little tighter.

“I had no problem getting up in the morning and going to work. Bonita has a great staff and great kids. The kids are one of the great parts of the job. They make your day entertaining,” he said. “It is a great place to work, which is why there have only been two custodians since 1974.”