Crooning custodian is the big man on campus

The crooning custodian.

MERIDIAN -- It's a typical Tuesday at the home of the Mavericks. The 55-acre campus holds a population that is roughly the size of a small town.
 
"We're just shy currently of 2,300 students here at Mountain View," said the school's principal, Cliff Rice.
 
Just before 11 a.m., they all hit the halls for lunch. While it's easy to be missed among the masses, all one has to do is listen to find this school's treasure not far from the trash cans.
 
"I've been in America since 1996," said Leo Zaverukha. "Yeah, it's 21 years exactly."
 
For a man who came to this country at the age of 41 every day is a blessing. "I do, I really do, I like my job," said Zaverukha.
 
Principal Rice remembers one of his first encounters with Zaverukha after a basketball game more than a decade ago. "And he looked up at me and he said, 'America is so great. You leave trash, I pick it up,'" said Rice, who's been at Mountain View for 14 years.
 
That's how Zaverukha approaches life. From the grass to the flowers out front to the trash out back, Leo's got it covered. And usually accompanied with a cover version of a favorite song.
 
Born and raised in the Ukraine, Zaverukha could tell you stories about imprisoned family members and starving villages. But he'd rather focus on what makes him happy. And that is usually centered on the 1000 songs - in six different languages - that he says are in his head that he can't quite keep inside.
 
"Yes, he will sing for you in a moment if you just ask him," says Rice.
 
Zaverukha learned to love music from his mother and he believes as long as he's breathing, he'd rather use that breath for singing. Making the home of the Mavericks into an accidental amphitheater for one happy man.
 
"Well, as I say, I was born that way, you know?" laughed Zaverukha.
 
Zaverukha has been such a staple at Mountain View High School the student council has incorporated him, and his singing, into school assemblies.
 
And it's rare a birthday goes by at the school without a rendition of "Happy Birthday" being sung by Zaverukha for students or staff.
 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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