Gibson Southern alum, Thompson, assumes role as head of maintenance

From the coal mines to the halls of Gibson Southern, Thompson returns to keep the school running smoothly.


Lucas Kissel

Mark Thompson, the head of maintenance at Gibson Southern, has a myriad of duties he completes each day to keep the school running smoothly. He expects this to be the job from which he retires.

Lucas Kissel, Reporter

Mark Thompson is one of the new members of the staff at Gibson Southern High School. He is an Air Force veteran, a father and a husband. He has three boys who attend Sts. Peter and Paul School. Thompson attended Gibson Southern High School, where he played basketball, baseball, soccer and ran one year of cross country.


Southerner: What is your job at the high school?

Thompson: “I am the head custodian at the high school.”

Southerner: What does your day consist of?

Thompson: “I get here early in the morning, check my emails, check my notes to see if your night custodians left any, if anything was broken. I unlock everything that needs to be unlocked, and then usually I will try to hit the stuff that’s wrong in the classrooms before you guys get here, so I’ll start at 6 a.m. If someone has something that they need worked on, I will start on that.”

Southerner: What makes a good day at school?

Throughout the day, Mark Thompson fields numerous phone calls about matters concerning the high school. Photo by Lucas Kissel

Thompson: “Everyday has been a good day, for the most part. Everybody around here has a positive attitude. I’ve never worked around a school before, but it’s nice and refreshing. You guys are all really young and have lots of enthusiasm. And, if I got everything done that I needed done and more, that’s a great day.”

Southerner: If you were to be given a superlative when you were in school, what would it have been?

Thompson: “Well, I was our class president. I had a lot of fun when I was here and played a lot of sports. But, I don’t know what I would’ve voted for.”

Southerner: Do you do anything special now because you were the class president in high school?

Thompson: “Most of the time, no. Some of the other officers kind of coordinate reunions and such, but we haven’t done anything in the past five or so years.”

Southerner: How long would you survive a zombie apocalypse? Why?

Thompson: “A few days. Well, it depends on if I had my family with me or if it was just me. If my family was with me, I wouldn’t be looking out for just me, and I wouldn’t last as long. If It was just me, I would probably last a very long time. I would have to worry about just me and wouldn’t have my kids to feed.”

Southerner: Do you see your career changing anytime in the future?

Thompson: “Probably not. I started out, I went into the military after high school. And then I went to Gibson County Coal, and I started doing maintenance there. Then I went to Toyota and started doing maintenance there. And then this job came open, and I decided to take it. I’m pretty sure I’m gonna just ride this out. That’s the plan anyway.”

Southerner: Can you tell me more about your work history?

Thompson: “When I graduated from here, I went to college for a little while but I basically ran out of money. So, I went into the Air National Guard. We went to Maine, Canada, Germany, Iceland, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Hawaii, California and more. There, I was in the 123rd engineering wing, and I did electrical power production. I was there for 10 years and did Gibson County Coal at the same time.”

Southerner: What is your motivation/inspiration?

Thompson: “My motivation now is my children, getting them through and seeing them off to be adults.”

Southerner: How many people are in your family?

Thompson: “I have three boys: one is in pre-school, one is in first grade and one’s in second grade and my wife, who is an engineer at Toyota.”

Southerner: Who is your personal hero or role model?

Thompson: “Probably my father.”

Southerner: Is there a quote or saying that you live your life by?

Thompson: “No, not off the top of my head.”

Southerner: What would you do with your money after winning the lottery?

Thompson: “I would put it in high yield stocks. I would spread it out between high yield stocks and high yield ETFs (exchange traded funds). Say, if you won $100,000 and you get a stock that has an 8% dividend, that’s $8,000 cash. If you won a million dollars and you put it in a stock with an 8% dividend, you would get 80,000 dollars in cash, like a paycheck.”

Southerner: What was your dream job as a child?

Thompson: “Probably Toyota maintenance.”

Astrophotography is one of Thompson’s hobbies. Photo Provided

Southerner: Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents that no one knows you enjoy?

Thompson: “Yeah. I do astrophotography, I take pictures of the sky.”

Southerner: What all goes into your astrophotography?

Thompson: “You start out with a tripod and just any camera with manual settings. And, like  anything else, you just practice and get better at it as you go. Then you can buy a new piece of gear, or a new lens to use. I have two cameras that I use.”