LIVINGSTON, NJ - Over the years, Harrison Elementary has seen a Louis and a few Louies in the school.

But there was only one Lou.

That’s Lou Caberson, the custodian who retired this week after 31 years of service to Livingston Public Schools. 

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On Monday, April 28 students practically skipped with anticipation for the surprise party for Mr. Lou, keeping quiet as Principal Cindy Healy made an “emergency” call.

“We’ve had a little problem in the new gym. Can you come in?

Caberson opened the doors and was cheered by 500 Harrison students, their teachers and much of the staff. The school all knows how much Caberson loves the Yankees. He wears a Rally Monkey at lunch during the baseball season, and the students encouraged Caberson to drape the monkey in a bear hug during the retirement party. 

“The Yankees may be losing their captain in Derek Jeter after this season, but we’re losing ours,” Mrs. Healy said. “Thank you captain.”

Students presented gifts fitting for a handyman, filling a toolbox with everything from duct tape to bathroom soap. And since he’ll be returning the keys to the school, he is leaving with hundreds of keys all created by students with messages of their love and respect: “Thank you for making the world a much better place.”

After a rap, and simple farewell, “I’m going to miss you all,” Mr. Lou went back to work, while students continued the celebration outside by flying kites on a pretty spring day. 

For Mr. Lou, it was the perfect party. Kids smiling, running and laughing.

And no mess for the custodian to clean up.