'He makes everyone’s day better': Abington custodian recognized for 50 years of service

Jim Melwert
January 17, 2019 - 4:00 am
John “Woody” McGoldrick (second from left) poses with his shirt and students, (from left) senior Becca Gable, freshman Ethan Weilheimer, and senior Josiah Campbell.

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — John McGoldrick, known to anyone with ties to Abington Senior High School as "Woody," is effectively and affectionately the school’s mascot.

"He really is, and I can’t express this enough," said Principal Angelo Berrios, "(he's) a part of the fabric here at Abington Senior High School. ... He just truly makes people feel special, and we just love having him here."

McGoldrick started working at Abington as a custodian on July 15, 1969 when he was 20 years old. "It’s been a pleasure, but the thing is I’m thinking of retiring soon," he said.

To honor his 50 years of service, he will be recognized at Thursday night's basketball game. At halftime, a banner recognizing him will be raised to the rafters as many in crowd will wear a T-shirt with his face on the front and his catchphrase on the back: "Awh yeah."

"I’m really shocked that everyone comes and supports me on this day," admitted McGoldrick.

But to generations of Abington students and alumni, he’s much more than a school employee. 

Last year, McGoldrick endowed an annual scholarship in his name because he wanted to give back to school he says gave him so much.

Senior Becca Gable said it's no surprise he is being honored, as he is a legend — and not only for his support of the sports teams.

"He makes everyone’s day better," she said. "He’ll come into my Spanish (class) sometimes 'cause he's friends with my Spanish teacher and just say hi and give everyone a laugh — first period at 7:30 in the morning."

He’s also a staple at prom, according to Abington Superintendent Jeffrey Fecher. "Woody would always be in the middle of the dance floor, and the students truly appreciate his dance moves as well."