Starfish Story: dedication deserving of recognition

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015

When I started as the maintenance director for Dowagiac Union Schools, I talked to the maintenance and custodial staff about the importance of customer service in their positions. I spoke of creating a positive environment through communication, attitude and cooperation.

Cynthia Hollingsworth

Cynthia Hollingsworth

These can be hard things to buy into, but pay real dividends when they are.

I have an employee that not only bought into it, but exceeded my expectations — her name is Cynthia Hollingsworth.

Cynthia Hollingsworth started working at Dowagiac Union Schools as sub-custodian through a contracted service. In 2012, a position opened in our school system and Cynthia was awarded the position.

Since that time Cynthia has been transferred several times to accommodate the needs of the district. Wherever she went, she went with a positive attitude, creating admiration from those she works with.

Every time I had to tell the staff that Cynthia was transferring to another building, I heard the same thing:

“Can someone else go? We love Cynthia.”

During last year’s basketball season, Cynthia was working at the high school, but at the end of the season was moving to the middle school. The whole time she was at the high school I kept hearing how good she is and how much they appreciated her.

Cynthia did not know at the time that the students and staff at the high school were going to present her with flowers at halftime of a basketball game. This happened to be at the Dowagiac United Battle of the Fans game the news station was telecasting.

Unfortunately she was very ill and couldn’t attend. For an event that was about a town united honoring an individual for their contributions is a special honor.

Cynthia has since been awarded the head custodian position at the Dowagiac Middle School.

In my office, I have a sign that states, “we create our tomorrows by what we dream today.”

Positive attitude, continuous communication and cooperation with students, staff and public is the cornerstone of good customer service, and Cynthia Hollingsworth epitomizes all of that.

Cynthia has not only “created her tomorrow” but through her example just maybe has set the example for others to create their tomorrows.

Cynthia truly is a starfish. Cynthia has a son, Tory, and two grandchildren, Kayna and Balyn.


John Juroff is the maintenance director for the Dowagiac Union Schools.