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Boys locker room attendant a familiar, friendly face

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Boys locker room attendant a familiar, friendly face

RULES OF THE POOL. Terry Shanks explains how to behave during swimming to a group of middle schoolers.

RULES OF THE POOL. Terry Shanks explains how to behave during swimming to a group of middle schoolers.

Iván Beck

RULES OF THE POOL. Terry Shanks explains how to behave during swimming to a group of middle schoolers.

Iván Beck

Iván Beck

RULES OF THE POOL. Terry Shanks explains how to behave during swimming to a group of middle schoolers.

Iván Beck

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Amidst the overwhelming stench of sweat and chatter, Terry Shanks notices one boy who looks upset. As he walks out of the locker room, Mr. Shanks leans over, giving him a fist bump and “What’s up, bro.” As Mr. Shanks gives the peace sign with his fingers, the boy’s face perks up as he heads out to his first period class.

Terry Shanks has been the boys locker room attendant since 1998. He first came upon the recommendation of a friend when the previous attendant was retiring. Although his official duties are to maintain cleanliness and order in the locker room, most boys at Lab know him as a friendly face during a hard day.

Mr. Shanks emphasizes communication with the boys in the locker room.

“I want a communication line open so if one of the guys wants to talk about something or one of the guys got any questions or one of the guys going through anything, I just want them to be able to relax and be able to talk to me,” Mr. Shanks said.

Mr. Shanks’ mentality of support and compassion comes from his part-time job as a minister with a local prayer group.

“I teach. It’s a variety of things that I do, that’s why I can relate to the guys here,” Mr. Shanks said. “I relate to alcoholics, I relate to drug addicts, I relate to homeless people, I relate to a lot of people because I’m trying to get them to understand there’s a better way and then I’m trying to bring them in to a spiritual way.”

Mr. Shanks knows that he cannot solve the problems of every boy who walks into the locker room. He just wants to help with what he can.

“Sometimes you don’t know what the kids are dealing with at home,” Mr. Shanks said, “and you don’t know what they are going through. so I try to stay on a good side, or try to be that release valve for them when they come in here.”

Mr. Shanks often reconnects with former students, including during the recent alumni weekend.

“I met a couple of guys, who introduced me to their wives, then I met a couple of guys who had kids,” Mr. Shanks said, “they still remember me and I’m grateful that they remember me in a peaceful way and a happy way.”

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Boys locker room attendant a familiar, friendly face