If you had to guess which Shelby Public Schools employee carved a violin by hand, knows how to jam enemy intelligence radio frequencies and owns a farm and ranch, who would you guess? Shelby High School’s (SHS) janitor, David Clark, is the correct answer, and he will be retiring on Dec. 15.
Don’t let the broom fool you! Clark has a vast knowledge of technology and electrical maintenance. He is also an innovative handyman around the school and students said his smile will be missed around the halls of SHS.
Although Clark has been working at Shelby High School for 20 years, he said, “I only get credit for 17 because I worked as a sub for three years.”
Clark’s typical work day starts at 11 a.m. He said that he first checks to make sure there are no maintenance issues he needs to attend to right away.
“I usually make sure the heat is working,” Clark said.
Clark is the man who makes sure the school is clean, comfortable and running smoothly for the students and staff.
Throughout his years in Shelby, Dave has made many acquaintances. Eric Tokerud, veteran teacher at SHS, has known Clark for “about 30 years.” Tokerud describes Clark as “very consistent.”
Tokerud said, “If you want to know what is going on, ask Dave.”
Tokerud also said that Clark is “very giving of his time” and that he is always there to help the students of SHS as much as he can.
Junior Katie Krutzfield, who has known Clark for four to five years said, “He is an amazing person, and I’m glad to know him.”
One of her favorite memories gives insight to his sense of humor. She said she was in the hallways with a group of students talking to Clark and her friend dropped a piece of paper down the stairs, so “Dave went all the way downstairs, put the piece of paper in the elevator and sent it up.”
Clark has quite an interesting background, aside from being the school’s janitor. When Clark first got out of high school he worked on the oil rigs. Clark also served in the United States Air Force. In the Air Force, Clark’s job was in Electronic Counter Majors (ECM), in which he worked jamming enemy radar signals.
In the time he served in the military, Clark said, “I spent a short time in Germany, but most of my time was in California.”
As far as hobbies go, Clark said that he doesn’t have very much free time, but he likes to work with wood and build things.
“I carved a violin by hand, no power tools or anything.”
Another thing about Clark that most people do not know, is that he owns a farm and ranch operation.
“I bought it in the ‘80s, ‘86-ish,” said Clark. “I took over when my parents retired.”
The knowledge it takes to keep a school’s systems running smoothly is vast, and it has taken Clark years of experience to acquire the expertise he has today.
Clark said, “The hardest thing to learn would be all the systems I work with. I know a lot about the electronics part of it because I worked with electronics before.”
Clark said that his favorite part of his job is working with the students. He often helped with prom, Homecoming festivities, like hallway decorating, and the Speech and Drama kids’ events.
What Clark will miss most about his job is, “Working with the kids, because it’s kind of enjoyable to be able to help them accomplish what they want to accomplish, because it makes you feel needed,” he said.
When Clark retires in December he wants to spend more time with his kids and grandkids. He plans to be there to watch their school programs. Clark has two kids and three grandkids.
After years of working at SHS, Clark’s one piece of advice to students is “Be involved in things, don’t be afraid to try something new, because it’s a good way to meet new friends, keeps you busy and it’s a good way to find things you like that you may not know you like.”