As the Mat-Su Borough School District wraps up its second week of class, KTVA went outside the classroom to find a Colony High School staff member who is going the extra mile to make students smile.

As soon as the lunch bell rings, custodian Mary Heideman -- known as "Miss Mary" -- is busy getting ready for students. 

"Lunch time is my favorite part of the day, because I get to be a part of that and it's the one time that everyone gets to be social and doesn't have to worry about listening or bringing the right things," Heideman said.

Heideman has been a custodian at Colony High for 10 years. She's always moving and on her feet, because "Miss Mary's" job is never done. 

"There truly is a method to my madness," Heideman said. "If I keep up on it and we get everything done, there's not any food fight; there's not any spills, trails and whatever, and then I get in touch a little bit with everybody."

Her mission each day is to make everyone feel welcome as soon as they walk through the door.

"I know it's very important to acknowledge people going down the hall, and a 'Good morning' or 'Good afternoon' or 'How's it going?' bring happiness to us all," Heideman said. "I'm really fortunate to be able to stop doing whatever I'm doing and help somebody else out."

"(We) couldn't live without 'Miss Mary' at this school," said a Colony High student. "Everyone loves Mary; you can ask anyone that has been here. They all know 'Miss Mary' can fix whatever they have problems with -- they know that she cares about them, and she is always at everything."

One student said Heideman brightens up her day, "kind of knowing that someone is there to ask me how I am."

"She cares about everyone at the school," said another student. "She is always there and she's always talking to new students, making sure that the kids who are sitting alone have someone to talk to."

What keeps "Miss Mary" going are the individual students she meets.

"When you can see the kids that you have truly touched and have truly touched you, there really is nothing else like it," Heideman said. "I don't know how to explain it."

"It's pretty neat when they come back to see their custodian from high school," Heideman said. "So the success of all of them is what makes me happy and makes me continue."

If you'd like nominate an educator for Teacher of the Week, here's how to do so.

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