Best caretaker taking care of kids
To the kids he is simply ‘‘Chop’’. To the parents, he is ‘‘the best caretaker ever’’.
Kiernan O’Gorman has been caretaker and a teacher aide at Rangikura School for the past 18 months.
A qualified baker, the 41-yearold says the ‘‘work, eat, sleep’’ routine of that industry was hard to keep up, while his current position suits him to the ground.
Maintenance, cleaning, lawnmowing and helping children to read are in his official job description, but Mr O’Gorman does much more.
He organises many activities in and outside the school, often in his own time.
He was also the one who encouraged students to to write to the Hurricanes with a plea for rugby goalposts – which were delivered with much fanfare last month.
‘‘ I really want to see kids playing more sport, that’s something I’m big on.
‘‘I love BMX so I’ve organised bike rides and ‘fix your bike’ days at school – just getting these guys to try new things, especially outdoors.’’
Mr O’Gorman has three of his own children at Rangikura, and a fourth will start there next month.
‘‘I like helping with the sport, encouraging kids to read, going on school trips and helping to keep the school tidy.
‘‘We don’t have a lot of graffiti because people keep an eye on it and a lot of the students have done things like murals and other art, so it’s their place.
‘‘My job is really rewarding and having a happy school is great for this community.’’
One parent who contacted KapiMana News described ‘‘ good old Chop’’ as ‘‘the best caretaker ever’’ and there was no arguments from Rangikura’s acting principal Eddie Uluilelata. ‘‘We call him ‘super-custodian’. ‘‘ He’s enthusiastic, uses his initiative and is keen on sports and finding different activities for the kids.
‘‘He just has a way about him, never raising his voice and working hard, a great role model for this school.’’
At the end of the Hurricanes’ visit, Mr O’Gorman cheekily asked their chief executive James Te Puni for tickets to a game.
‘‘He said, ‘Sure’, and next thing every kid at the school has two tickets [to the Chiefs match last Friday].
‘‘That’s just awesome.’’
Mr O’Gorman sought $ 5 per head from parents and organised three buses to take the young revellers to the game – many of whom had never been to Westpac Stadium before – and a huge sausage sizzle beforehand.
Past and present students were among the 200-plus party who attended, with former All Black Norm Hewitt on hand to cook sausages.
Chop chop: Kiernan O’Gorman goes above and beyond his duties as caretaker and teacher aide at Rangikura School. Among his future plans is to use his baker’s background to put a healthier spin on the school’s lunch menu.