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Making Things Happen

By David Boyce

As temperatures rose to near 100 degrees last summer, Drew Gossett continued to tear out the carpet and build shelves inside the Makerspace room at Lillian Schumacher Elementary.

The fact that the air conditioning was under repair and wasn’t working didn’t prevent Gossett from doing his job.

“What motivated me was I started it,” Gossett said. “That motivated me to finish it. You can’t have half the room carpeted and the other half not.”

Gossett, the head custodian at the school, wanted to make sure the students at Schumacher had a nice area where they could use their creativity in the Makerspace room in the library.

Makerspace is a collaborative work space inside a school or library for making, learning, exploring and sharing that uses high tech to no tech tools.

Two years ago, a Makerspace area was created at Schumacher in a room that was once used for computers.

After the school year ended, Gossett came up with an idea to make the Makerspace area even more user friendly for the students.

“He said we should really take out the carpet. It is hard to clean and doesn’t feel like you can make a mess,” said Megan Bright, library media specialist at Schumacher.

Gossett also learned from Bright that the room didn’t have a storage area for the students’ projects.

“He took out all the countertops around the room and then welded them together and built the shelves,” Bright said.

Despite the summer heat, Bright watched how Gossett was never deterred from his goal. Knowing the end goal made his mission easy to complete.

“The thing I enjoy on a regular basis is every single day there is at least one kid in this school who has his mind blown by something he learned,” Gossett said. “It is awesome.”

Gossett goes beyond his custodian duties to make Schumacher and clean environment for students to learn. Bright recognized all his attributes and nominated him for Missouri Association of School Librarians Friend of the Library award.

Only one person wins this award each year. It is quite an honor since it covers every school library in Missouri.

Gossett won and will be honored at a banquet in late March in St. Louis.

“It is kind of humbling,” Gossett said. “It is hard for me to have perspective on something like that because it is not something I am familiar with in winning a state-wide award.

“I am happy, but I didn’t set out on this project to win an award. “I don’t understand why I won an award for it. I think it is great. I am honored. But this is stuff we have to do every day.”

And that is the endearing aspect on what Gossett did at Schumacher.

“My favorite part is he doesn’t even view this as a big deal,” Bright said.

Gossett views his work as doing his job. Bright knows the work he does is valuable.

“He comes in and teaches the kids how to use robots and he works with them on how to build a drone with legos,” Bright said. “He is way more than a custodian. He does so much more than clean our school.”

Gossett is in his fourth year at Schumacher and fifth in Liberty Public Schools. He enjoys his job and being around students who are eager to learn.

“They want to learn and learn cool stuff,” Gossett said. “Watching the transformation of these kids from when they started in kindergarten to when they leave in fifth grade is amazing. That is really cool part about being here.”