Cristo Rey students. Photo via Facebook.

Tired of the drama and negativity surrounding the 2016 Presidential Election? Take a break from it and cast your vote for the best janitor in the nation.

Hint: He’s in Detroit.

Andre Hearn, head janitor at Detroit Cristo Rey High School, is one of 10 finalists in Cintas’ Janitor of the Year Contest. He has served Cristo Rey for seven years, and during that time, he’s become an irreplaceable part of the school.

Hearn is an active member in Cristo Rey’s community, and he’s a great advocate for the students, whom he also mentors. He works with the students daily to re-enforce the importance of education and to show them how to be an invaluable community member, which is what makes Cristo Rey such a unique school.

Detroit Cristo Rey is located at Vernor and Junction in Southwest Detroit and their approach is different than a traditional school. Students at the Catholic high school spend four days each week in the classroom, study college-preparatory core requirements and regularly take advantage of extracurricular opportunities throughout Detroit.

But, there’s a twist. The Corporate Work Study Program is the most distinctive feature of the Cristo Rey concept, supporting the school’s academic program with one day per week of real-life work experience in many of the finest businesses and organizations in metro Detroit. The school is on the Most Holy Redeemer campus and sponsored by the Basilian Fathers and the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

“What I love most about working at Cristo Rey is the feeling of family. It is a close knit group at the school. It is the best job I have ever had – I really enjoy the staff and students that I am with every day. There is no comparison with where I have worked before,” Hearn said.

In addition to his time spent with the students, Hearn has also been known to “anonymously” buy school supplies for some of Cristo Rey’s most in-need students and to donate to fundraising campaigns that support after-school activities.

Andre Hearn
Andre Hearn

There is no doubt that the students love Hearn. During the 2015 winter break, he volunteered to strip, wax, and seal the school’s tile floors, but he didn’t do it alone. He was able to rally several former Cristo Rey students to help him.

Hearn explained, “Over the winter break we had an emergency project to work on and I called some of our former students to help and they all came. They said they were doing it for me, not the money and that made me feel great.”

The Janitor of the Year nomination was s surprise for Hearn, but it’s fitting for his dedication and the pride he takes in his job.

“I was very excited to learn that I was a finalist. When my wife told me that there were 630 nominations for more than 200 janitors, and that I had been selected for the top 10, I was really proud. I take pride in my work and am proud that it has helped send my daughter to college. I work for the goals that I have for my family and want to do a good job. It’s nice to be recognized for it.”

You can help Cintas decide who the 2016 Janitor of the Year should be by voting online here. Voting is open now and closes on Friday, April 15. Voters can cast one vote per person per day.

The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize along with $5,000 in products and services for his or her school from Cintas and Rubbermaid. The remaining nine finalists will each receive a $500 cash prize.

So spread the word, and cast your vote. Let’s show the nation that Detroit has the best janitor in the United States!

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