Head custodian at Thalia Elementary takes action for students

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Virginia Beach, Va. - Pamela Pastros, the principal at Thalia Elementary, is a big fan of Joe Seals who has been working at the school for 27 years.

"I mean he's a legend at Thalia," she says.

Seals is the school's head custodian, but the principal says he's so much more.

"He's been here so long he doesn't see himself as the custodian, because he's not just a custodian, he does anything and everything around this building," says Pastros.

Just ask students like 5th grader Jaylen Harris. "He always makes sure you're feeling good when you're on a bad day."

Another fifth grader, Lilly Moore agrees.

"He's always there. Whenever you're down or doubtful, he'll be just like making you feel better," she says.

Fifth grader Delacey Moore sees Seals as part of the family.

"It's kinda like a big brother, how he acts is like a big brother to me."

He also plays the role of mentor and talks to students about doing their homework and discipline issues.

The principal says it doesn't stop there. "If they need something to stay warm--he's going to find them a coat, mittens, gloves... things of that nature." Sometimes he's buying combs, brushes and socks for the kids.

And because of these things and so much more, Seals we presented Mr. Seals with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action Award and a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank. The students who had gathered in the cafeteria erupted into cheers.

"Well I just want to say thank God and thank these lovable kids, because without them, I wouldn't be here and I love helping them."

I asked him why he does all the things he does for the students at Thalia and for Seals it's simple, "From the heart... because I was a kid--there was someone who had to listen to what I had to say."

Oh and his plans for the $100 Visa gift card--treat the kids to ice cream.


  • Jo Washburn

    Thank goodness that Thalia has such an awesome addition to their staff and students! Several schools in VBCPS don’t even have the support from their own teachers and/or administrators that they need in order to achieve success. Kudos to Mr. Seals!!!!!

  • Sam

    I don’t know Mr. Seals personally, as my youngest daughter started at this wonderful school just last year but I see him interacting with kids when I go to lunch with Abby and I think what a great guy. We are truly blessed to have this amazing man at Thalia. Congratulations!!!!

  • Jamille Decker Alimard

    I’ve been threatening Mr. Seals that I would send him my kids dental bill after 7 years of buying both children ice creams!!! We love you Mr. Seals!!! This is a well-deserved honor. Thank you WTKR.

  • Lauren Riley

    I’m a former student at Thalia K-5 and now in college. Mr. Seals always put a smile on my face. He’s the best! So excited that he is recognized for all he does :)

  • Karen Mallard

    My first year of teaching 25 years ago was so hard I almost gave up. Mr. Seals came to my classroom every day to encourage me. I worked really late every night and he used to come to my room and make me go home so I would be rested and ready for my first graders the next day. So happy he received this award. He is a great guy! Congratulations my dear friend!

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