Lakowske makes a positive impact on students at school


Throughout the last two school years, many things have changed, but there has been one constant that makes all of the change: Brain Lakowske.

Lakowske is the head custodian. His journey back to BRF High was one he had to wait years for.

“I graduated here from Black River in 1998. I worked at a casino for 20 years, needed a different chapter in my life, and that ended me up here being a custodian,” said Lakowske.

Even though Lakowske’s time so far here has been short, he has made an impact on the lives of students and staff.

“Brian is a positive force. He is always willing to take on whatever we ask him to do. And he does it so gracefully,” said assistant principal Kim Penza.

It is the simple things that Lakowke and his staff do every day that makes everyone happy to be at school.

“[The custodians] greet me with a smile, right? So, it always makes me feel good, and they make me feel like it’s a good time to be here,” said Penza.

“I’m on my scrubber quite a bit. I love to run it–also known as the Zamboni machine. That’s probably my favorite part is running [the scrubber] and smiling at everybody,” said Lakowske.

Lakowske’s connection with students runs much deeper than just a smile and wave in the hallways between classes. He makes kids excited to come to school every day and become better people.

Sometimes Lakowske helps with student behavior plans.

“They could spend the last 15 minutes helping Brian with whatever he needed to do. And that sounds just easy: they’re just going to come, but it actually puts a lot of extra work on Brian because now he has this student that’s going to meet with him. He has to have a task that two of them can do. He has to explain the task and to talk to this person, but he’s always willing to do that: build that connection, build that relationship, and work with the students, and the students enjoy it,” said Penza.

Lakowske’s relationships with students are not always serious. He says he likes to have fun and joke around with students throughout their day. Junior Jacob Ward says he’s a “jokester.”

“One day he rides his little moped to school. He comes over by us at lunch. We’re in the parking lot, and he revs his moped up and then he does a little wheelie taking off, and everybody laughed at him,” Ward said.

Not only does Lakowske and his staff make the extra effort to make students feel more comfortable, but he also always makes his best effort to make his colleagues’ lives easier, especially this summer as staff members brainstormed about how to make room for new staff members.

“He game-planned how to make a classroom better for staff members. So, just his thinking it through and making sure that we were doing what was best for the staff members,” said Penza.

Even with all of the hard work Lakowske and his staff already do, they always go the extra mile to accommodate in the best way possible for their colleagues without complaints.

“Mr. Madsen and I have made some changes this year. And changes just keep coming, right? And so [the custodians] have gotten more tasks to do that,” said Penza.

With all of the changes being made to the school, he is impressing Penza on how flexible he is with students.

“He’s always willing to help out the students, which I think is key when you’re working in a school,” said Penza.