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W.E. Parker Elementary Surprises Longtime Employee John Henry Jackson with 80th Birthday Celebration

Johnston, SC – Whether he is driving a school bus or keeping the hallways clean at W.E. Parker Elementary School, John Henry Jackson goes about his business each day with a quiet dedication and he loves every minute of it.

His school and transportation families returned some of that love recently on Friday, March 17, 2023, which happened to be Jackson’s 80th birthday, with a pair of surprise birthday celebrations that caught “Mr. J” totally by surprise.

“They got me good,” Jackson stated earlier this week after thinking for a moment about all the excitement. “I was really surprised. I wasn’t looking for all that. That’s more attention than I’ve had in a lifetime.”

Later, when his picture was placed on the school district’s website and page on Facebook, praise and appreciation for Jackson rolled in with numerous comments like this one from his W.E. Parker colleague, Andrea Armstrong.

“Mr. Jackson is the hardest working man I’ve ever had the privilege of working with,” she posted. “He is a dedicated employee and a great friend. He’s the BEST.”

Celebrating a birthday on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th) has its perks. Jackson attended his birthday party at W.E. Parker Elementary wearing a shirt that read “Born Lucky on St. Patrick’s Day” while surrounded by smiling, green-clad colleagues. 

Jackson, who has served as a school bus driver for close to three decades, and as a school custodian with the Edgefield County School District for 20 years, says he feels fortunate to be able to do what he loves every day.

When asked what the secret is to his longevity and vitality he doesn’t hesitate – “hard work.” 

“Everybody doesn’t think I’m 80, but I am,” commented Jackson. “If you get up and get to work every day, age doesn’t have time to catch up to you. I just love to work and I love to be busy.”

He says the kindness shown to him on his birthday by his ECSD colleagues and friends will not be forgotten.

“They were extra good to me,” he added.

ECSD Public Information