Singing custodian’s voice brings joy to Ben Davis High School

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When students and faculty walk through the halls of Ben Davis High School and hear a singing voice, they know it's likely Susie Mask, who has been singing on the job for nearly 20.

Mask said singing has always been a part of her life and for her large family.

"We all sang or played something, all eight of us," Mask said.

Growing up, singing revolved around music her father enjoyed, such as the acts at the Grand Ole Opry. She would sing bluegrass and country, but now she's mostly singing southern gospel music while washing school windows or mopping the cafeteria floor.

After starting at Ben Davis in 1999, she slowly started singing on the job near the end of the day and benefited from it.

“By the time I got done, I felt relieved," said Mask. "I felt more energized than when I started.”

Soon others were hearing her voice and asking for her to do it more.

Mask has gotten plenty of practice over the years with her singing at West Newton Youth & Worship Center in Decatur Township. Singing at school was an entire different experience.

"I was out shopping and a former student came up to me and asked me if I still sang," she said. "I told him I did and that was the only thing he wanted to know about me."

One year, three students approached Mask outside of school and encouraged her to participate in the school's talent show.

"I told them that was only for students," said Mask. "They said no it's not and I should sign up."

Susie's been known to take her voice anywhere in the school. In fact, she doesn't think there's a room she hasn't sang in.

“She is very well known among the students at the singing custodian," said Ben Davis broadcasting instructor Jon Easter. "You can hear the love and excitement in her voice.”

Earlier this school year, Mask asked for some help from the school's broadcasting students to make a video of her singing. It can be seen here. Mask is singing “The Unseen Hand” to support hurricane victims in Texas and Florida.

“There are so many people down there who lost everything," said Mask, who got the idea after seeing a pair of Hoosiers in Texas who were under a bridge with heavy water flowing by. "I wanted to be able to send them something encouraging to know they aren’t by themselves. I've sung that song since I was 15 and have sung it for many occasions."

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