1-12-18- Norco – Meet David Bennington! He is the Head Custodian at John F. Kennedy Middle College High School (JFKMCHS)!
Dave grew up in Corona. He attended Jefferson Elementary, Corona Fundamental, and Corona High School.
“I’ve been through the District all the way from Kindergarten to even now,” said Dave, “I’m a Corona boy.”
Dave has been with the Corona-Norco Unified School District for 30 years. He started at Sierra Vista Elementary.
“I’ve been at JFK the last 12-years and I spent 12 and a half years at Raney,” he said.
His favorite part of working for the District has been his time at JFK.
“We’ve got such a good relationship with the kids,” he said, “This has been a really good experience.”
Dave has enjoyed his time at JFK.
“It’s a great place,” he said, “I’ve really enjoyed it.”
He also serves as a mentor.
“Every so often, I adopt one or two of the kids that are struggling. I’ve had one young man that they said there’s no way he’s going to make it,” said Dave, “We sat down and talked. I told him you’re not going to walk out of class, you’re going to do this. I kind of babysat him and he graduated.”
Dave and the staff at JFK help maintain a positive school environment by confidence building and always reminding students they’re doing a good job.
“We do a lot of confidence building,” he said, “I always say we because it’s not just me. It’s Mr. Welch, it’s Mrs. Gonzales, it’s the teachers.”
Dave starts off his day by making sure everything is ready to go for breakfast. He also does the grounds work and ensures JFK is clean and looks great for the students.
“Dave is an incredible asset to our school community and his unwavering dedication and loyalty is unmatched,” said Petria Gonzales, JFK Principal.
His favorite hobby is working on cars.
“I play with hot rods,” he said, “I love cars.”
Dave has a 1957 2-door, hardtop Chevy BelAir.
“That’s my toy,” he said, “I have a couple others that just sit in the back right at the moment.”
Dave married his high school sweetheart, Janice. They have been married for 40 years.
“Why she puts up with me, I don’t know,” said Dave, “We’ve been married 40 years and it’s been great.”
Dave and Janice have a daughter, Jennifer.
“I always tell everybody I have 601 kids and they look at me like, really?” he said, “All the kids at JFK, I call them my kids, so I have 600 here and one daughter.”
Dave also has a 5-year old granddaughter, Mary. Simba and Sheba are the two family cats. Dave and Janice have had Sheba for ten years and Simba for 7.
“We have Simba, who is a big rag doll, about 28 pounds,” he said, “Then we have Sheba, she’s not really friendly to anybody else except to me and the wife.”
At the end of the day, Dave hopes what he does helps the students at JFK.
“I really hope that what we do here helps the kids, that’s the bottom line,” he said, “The schools aren’t built for the adults, they’re built for the kids.”
Every year during the winter season, Dave and Janice decorate the JFK Commons for students to enjoy before the break.
Dave always reminds students they can do anything if they believe in themselves.
“If you sit back and say I just can’t do it when you walk through the door, you might as well just walk back out because you’re not going to be able to do it,” he said, “JFK kids can do anything.”
One of the most memorable trips Dave has done was in 1984. He took a road trip on his motorcycle.
“We drove all the way to Louisiana to Michigan, spent two days in Michigan, a day in Canada, came back into New York, visited my family in Pennsylvania, spent two days in Ohio, shot all the way across the top of the United States, and then came back home,” he said.
It was an experience of a lifetime.
“I had friends who talked me into doing it and I loved it,” said Dave.
Dave quit riding motorcycles three years ago.
“It’s just getting to be a little bit too dangerous out there because of the cellphones,” he said.
Dave will be retiring in June after graduation.
“I’m going to be there with my kids when they walk,” he said, “And then I will walk off and be gone.”
Dave is looking forward to retirement.
“When people ask me what I’m going to do, I tell them I’m going to build cars, travel, and just have fun,” he said.
Yellowstone and Florida are on his travel destinations.
“We’re going to Florida, probably as our first run,” said Dave, “We’re going to go see my wife’s grandmother, who is 103-years old right now. She will be 104 when we see her.”
His plans are to simply enjoy retirement.