Feature Staff: Mr.John Harris

Chaney Hale, Staff writer

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When anyone thinks of Canton Academy,  Mr. John Harris must come to mind. Mr. John is the heart of this school. Without him, CA just wouldn’t be the same. From making sure the grounds look there best to fixing sinks when a kid knocks them off the wall, Mr. John takes care of it all. 

Mr. John is always so busy working that finding him for an interview was difficult.  Mrs. Sarah, in the office, was able to track him down. Not sure where she found him, but it was somewhere doing something important. Mr. John has been at CA for quite some time now.

“I’ve been working here for 15 years. At the time I decided to come here, I worked for a company out of Canton. I was a buyer. They sold out to another company and I could’ve transferred to Knoxville, Tenn. but I decided to stay here because this is where my roots were. CA was looking for someone to do yard cutting and maintenance and everything came together and I’ve been here since,” he explained. 

 Mr. John’s roots are here in Canton where he was born and still resides with his family.  “I’m married to Deidre Slaton and I have one daughter, Anna Grace, who graduated from here. I also graduated here and so did my wife. I graduated in 1980, my wife graduated in 1977, and my daughter graduated in 2013,” said Harris.

In 15 years, Mr. John must have a lot of memories from working here, good and not so good, and a lot of things about the job that he likes and dislikes.  His favorite memory from working here is when CA won the state championship in football. He explained that the best part of working here is not just one thing. He said it is a combination of several things-  the sports, being around kids everyday, just coming into work. “It’s just a great place to be,” said Harris, “and I just enjoy it.”

Someone with a quiet, humble personality like Mr. John can often be overlooked at work and maybe not given the kind of credit they deserve. Most people like to be given credit for a job well done, but Mr. John had a bit of a different take on the subject.  He humbly answered, “Yes, of course. I mean everybody enjoys getting credit, but that’s not why I do it. I do it because I love to do it.”  

CA sophomore student, Carter Martin, said he feels like Mr. John deserves more recognition. “I think Mr. John is awesome. He’s always nice when I see him and he keeps this place running and looking good. He does so many things that we don’t see. We just take for granted that things are going to be fixed and looking good and don’t give much thought to how it happens. He’s the one behind it all making sure it happens. We could never give him the credit he deserves, but I have to say, I sure do admire that man. Oh, and I think Coach Jurney should give him a raise too,” said Martin.

Barnes Wadford, CA sophomore said,  “Mr. John is always nice to me when I see him in the halls.” He seconded Carter’s suggestion of a pay raise for Mr. John. “He does so much around here. He deserves a raise, for sure,” said Wadford. Hey, Coach Jurney, are you reading this? 

Another duty on Mr. John’s long list of duties is overseeing the operations of the cafeteria. With this responsibility comes working with Mrs. Judy, another staple here at CA. Mr. John and Mrs. Judy have always worked so well together, and they get along great.

This was  easily explained by Harris. “Our work ethics are the same,” he said. This translates to them both being super hard workers because they are always busy working on something and never taking a break.

Mr. John said he’s known Judy for a long time. “I mean, she’s been here forever,” he said, “three or four years after I graduated.” Let’s see…..Mr. John graduated in 1980, so Mrs. Judy has been here around 36 or 37 years?! Whew! That’s a long time.

Apparently, Mr. John has had a lot of experience with replacing sinks in the bathrooms.  How in the world do the sinks “just fall off the walls” in the bathrooms? Mr. John has a theory on this great mystery. “It’s always the girls,” he said. “It’s mostly kindergarteners, I think. They jump up and down on them trying to reach up to wash their hands and the sinks just pop off the wall.” Mr. John said the dumbest thing a student ever did that he had to fix was when a student, who shall remain nameless, put a bottle cap in a sink drain in the bathroom and left the water running all weekend. The bathroom flooded, and guess who took care of it? That’s right, Mr. John. You name it, Mr. John can fix it. 

Mr. John didn’t have anything negative to say about his job except for one thing, his least favorite thing.  When asked what his least favorite part of the job was he quickly answered with no hesitation, “unstopping toilets.” Yep, worst part for sure. Without elaborating on the subject, he moved straight to his favorite part of the job. “I have fun doing any job. I wouldn’t have been here for fifteen years if I didn’t have fun.” 

Without a doubt, Mr. John has a pretty good way of looking at his job, and a lot of people would be happier every day if they had Mr. John’s attitude. Hats off to you, Mr. John. CA is lucky to have you.