EASTON, Pa. - A good school custodian is tasked with constantly keeping up.
And as fast as things move at Shawnee Elementary School in Easton, Brenda Hartzell stays one beat ahead. Maybe that's because the beat Brenda marches to, is often, Bowie.
"You gotta have some fun," begins Brenda Hartzell, head custodian.
Brenda started popping in her earbuds early in the morning as she started her day.
"'Cause I was cleaning bathrooms and it makes it go a lot quicker, when the music's in your ears," she explains.
The sounds drifted down to first grade teacher Melanie Salzarulo's classroom, where it was music to her ears.
"It just made a big difference for all of us," Melanie says.
This past school year wasn't easy for anybody in the building. Brenda misses the closeness with the students the most.
"Just to hear the kids talk to you and telling you what they did that weekend and stuff, just being a person to them, you know?" she says.
She used to arm wrestle the kids in the cafeteria. Now, her crew spends their time deep cleaning it.
But she still manages to plant a smile, everywhere she goes.
"She'll have her music on, her '80s stuff and she'll be singing, just so happy and you can't help but be happy in the morning and you're hearing her," Melanie smiles.
They'll all tell you, Brenda doesn't claim to be a trained singer.
"I can't sing," Brenda admits, adding "the kids tell me I need music lessons."
"I'm not trying to say that she's an opera singer!" laughs Melanie.
But who needs perfect pitch, when you just know, during a tough year, just how to strike the right tone.
"In life, you just gotta carry your heart on your sleeve, whatever you do. If I'm gonna be a custodian, I'm gonna be the best one out there," Brenda says, as she pops in her ear buds, and plays David Bowie.
And, singing off key, there she goes.
Brenda Hartzell, our 69 News Golden Apple Award Winner, who lifted spirits this year, just by starting each day on a positive note.