DETROIT (WWJ) – Janitor of the Year — it has a nice ring to it and students and teachers at Cristo Rey High School in southwest Detroit are hoping their head janitor wins that distinction.

WWJ’s Laura Bonnell introduces us to the hardworking and humble man who is one of the top 10 finalists in the Cintas’ Janitor of the Year contest.

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Fifty-year-old Andre Hearn doesn’t have a glamorous job — but he loves it and works hard. His supervisor recently recognized his work ethic and nominated him for Janitor of the Year. Hearn, the only janitor from Michigan to make the top 10 finalists out of nearly 630 applications, said it’s a tall order keeping the school in top shape.

“I have a lot of things that I do,” he said. “I set up for lunch, I clean the bathrooms, I have to push the floors, keep the hall clean, tear down from lunch and take the garbage out. I’ll talk to the teachers and see the kids in the hall, and I always tell them they’re not going to get no education in this hallway.”

Becoming a janitor was not Hearn’s first career choice, but he says it has served him well and he has no regrets.

“A man don’t work, a man don’t eat,” he said. “I have to provide for my family. I love my family, my daughter and my son. I want them to have what I didn’t have growing up and it’s my job that helps provide for them.”

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Hearn was the 6th of eight kids. When his father died when he was seven, Hearn’s oldest brother worked as a cop to help support the family. Nineteen years ago he married wife Catherine and they had two children — and with one now in college, Hearn’s job is even more important.

“I look at it as a job but I look at it and I’m happy with what I’m doing,” he said. “I’m respected, and it’s a wonderful place to work. I love getting up, going in and being there until it’s time for me to come home. It’s just a wonderful place to work. I look at the staff as my brothers and sisters. I look at the kids as my nieces and my nephews.”

The 2016 Janitor of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize along with $5,000 in products and services for his or her school. A $500 cash prize will be awarded to each of the remaining nine finalists.

You can vote for Janitor of the Year once a day through Friday, April 15. Click here to vote.

Andre Hearn’s Bio

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For the past 7 years, Andre Hearn has served as more than just Cristo Rey High School’s lead custodian. As an active member in Cristo Rey’s community, he is an outstanding advocate, role model and mentor to students. Not only does Andre keep the school clean and safe, but he also serves as a mentor to students. He works with them every day to re-enforce the importance of education and how to be a contributing member of the community. He has also been known to “anonymously” purchase items for some of our most in-need students and make donations to their fundraising events that support their after-school activities. When our students graduate and leave for college, they often come back to visit Andre. In fact, during this past winter break, Andre volunteered to strip, wax and seal the school’s tile floors. But most impressively, he was able to solicit the help of several former students who were home from college break because the kids missed him! Andre’s presence makes a world of difference to the staff and students. The school wouldn’t be the same without him.