If you were to walk by the cafeteria at Oak Hill Elementary on a Friday you would hear cheers and yells of excitement and witness a sea of purple.
If you stayed for the dismissal you would hear a Ravens cheer performed by eager students along with a loyal and loveable custodian.
Dubbed by parents, students and teachers as a die-hard Ravens fan, 11-year custodian Mike Duvall leads the charge of Ravens excitement at Oak Hill
“I wear purple every day, 24/7. I even sleep in my Ravens jersey,” Duvall said.
It’s apparent just from the atmosphere at Oak Hill that students and teachers feed off Duvall’s enthusiasm. Principal Deneen Houghton, who is also clad in Ravens attire including fuzzy purple boots, says Duvall is largely responsible for all the hype.
“We have a ton of Ravens fans here but he definitely is the one who involves the kids,” Houghton said. “He leads a cheer on the announcements with the kids and they absolutely love that.”
Oak Hill is a PBIS school, which stands for Positive Behavior Intervention Support. The program rewards students for doing positive things dealing with good behavior and citizenship.
Duvall has gotten in on the incentive as well. If he sees students behaving and doing the right thing he hands out “purple bird bucks.” When a student has accumulated six bird bucks they get to have lunch with "Mr. Mike" and talk Ravens football.
“That’s the awesome part,” Duvall said. “I like getting to talk to them and see them all excited. We talk about plays and their favorite players.”
Added Houghton, “The kids have really bought into the purple bucks. And it is nice for the kids to have him. We don’t have a lot of men in the building but they have a good connection with him. He’s a positive role model for them.”
The student’s affection for Mr. Mike is as clear as his fondness for the Ravens. While Duvall and I spoke for this interview anxious kids came up and asked, “Mr. Mike how much longer till we do the cheer?”
Duvall has letters written to him by students that express how much he is adored. He also points to a purple and black bracelet on his arm that he credits with the Ravens recent success.
“A little girl made me this bracelet and they have been winning ever since she gave it to me—so I have been wearing it ever since,” Duvall said. “We knew this year was going to be special.”
Duvall and Oak Hill students were recently featured on Baltimore’s Fox 45. To view that video click here.