Unique student-custodian relationship formed at Maple Lake Elementary

For years inside of Maple Lake Elementary a unique relationship has been flourishing.

Israel Budke loves cleaning and has dreams of becoming a custodian when he grows up. However, physical setbacks have made it more challenging for him to clean.

Only now, a close friendship with school custodian Todd Mavencamp is changing that.

"He’s Todd, he cleans the floors each day, he’s my best friend," Israel told FOX 9.

"It was such an instant bond," Maple Lake second grade teacher Annie Jost added. "They’ve really formed this unique and special connection."

Todd has gone out of his way to allow Israel to accompany him during the day; finding adaptive ways for Israel to help sweep floors, clean tables and more. 

Israel has an agreement with his teachers, where he earns points to spend time with Todd, by doing his schoolwork.

"As soon as he comes in the door, he wants to know where Todd is," Maple Lake special education teacher Jackie Manninen added. "He just looks forward to every single day."

Israel’s teachers say the relationship has helped expand Israel’s communication and relationship building skills.

"I think the friendships are really important for him," Manninen said. "They drive him to want to do more things, and better. He’s got a really good heart already."