School custodian James Bass is more than a janitor. He is a strong supporter and mentor to many students, particularly athletes.
From practices to team meetings to season and playoff games, Bass is often supporting the teams.
Bass said that high school sports play an important role in the lives of students, and they provide a good activity for students as opposed to getting in trouble.
“Sports kept me out of trouble,” Bass said. “I see you all as high school students and it reminds me of myself.”
This year, there is a lot of buzz in the athletics department. With a new athletic director, new coaches and a new $26 million field house, Bass said the athletic programs have nowhere to go but up.
Bass has shown his undying support for the athletics by being present from the start of the season to the end.
Bass is always there to support the teams.
Last year when the boys’ basketball team won the sectional championship against Thornwood, Bass was there with them when many students did not believe they would win.
“Jamo is very supportive of us and all the teams here,” senior Malcolm Grady said. “It feels good to have the support of someone outside of the team or family that cares just as much, and he’s always around.”
Bass said he was very proud of the boys when they came home with the sectional plaque.
“I love to see us go places people say we can’t go,” Bass said.
Bass has also been there for the girls’ basketball team.
“I really want to see the girls win a state championship,” Bass said. “I want to tell my son, ‘I watched [them] become stars.’”
Bass sometimes joins the girls in their pre-season conditioning sessions and practices. He participates in the drills and speaks with the girls about working hard.
“Jamo pushes us to do our best when he’s here,” freshman Taylor Robinson said
Also backed by the support of Bass is the football team.
“Jamo is a big support, and when we lose a game he is the first one at school the next day to tell us he knows we could have played better and won,” junior Desmond Bland said.
Out of all of the support from the student body and staff members, Bass holds a special spot in fan base.
Bass said he expects nothing but success this season from all of the sports. His undying support has made him become more than the janitor for many.
“I’m a part of a big family here,” Bass said.