Richard Phy, who works at Sellersville Elementary School, is one of 12 finalists in a contest that recognizes and rewards the work being done in schools around the country, the Tennant Company said in a Jan. 27 release. 

Each of the finalists in the Custodians Are Key contest receives a $500 gift card. The grand prize winner will receive a prize valued at $5,000 and his or her school will receive $10,000, the release said. 

Phy is one of three finalists chosen in the second round of the contest. 

"A custodian who creates glow-in-the-dark classrooms, beautiful new school gardens and co-chairs school fundraisers for a new playground, Richard Phy of Sellersville Elementary in Sellersville, Pennsylvania also uses his creativity to repurpose materials for innovative new uses. He created a mobile prize cart, a book room for teachers using café tables for shelving, and SMART board pen holders with old phone cords. Colleagues describe him as kind, empathetic and selfless and a reminder of the joy everyone should have working in their school," the release said.

The other two finalists chosen for this round are Cassius Ali of DeWitt D. Barlow Elementary School in Plainfield, New Jersey, and Kris Kantor of Hayes Elementary School in Lakewood, Ohio. 

"These three custodians demonstrate how far they are willing to go to not only maintain top-notch facilities, but to ensure their school's staff and students are recognized, respected and supported. They each bring creativity and innovation to their roles and are clearly making a positive and lasting impact on those around them. They exemplify the best of the best," said Lisa Hrpcek, channel marketing manager for the Tennant Company.

"Tenant received dozens of nominations from around the country of school custodians who are making their schools better, going above and beyond their daily jobs, and showing students and staff they care," the release said. 

The third round nomination period runs until March 4. The fourth round will be March 5 to May 6. Nominations may be made to

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