Remembering Souk Khamishong

BVNW custodian Souk Khamishong died Sept. 29, just weeks before he was to receive the Blue Valley School District Distinguished Service Award.


Courtesy of Blue Valley Northwes

Members of the BVNW custodial staff and Souk Khamishong, farthest right. Khamishong passed away on Sept. 29, before he was set to recieve the Distinguished Service Award for his custodial services.

By Megan Yates, Blue Valley Northwest High School

Souksana “Souk” Khamishong was one of six children and the only son of parents Bounthieng and Khambay Khamsihong. He was born on April 5, 1965 in Champasak, Laos and immigrated to the U.S. in 1981. Khamishong passed away on Sept 29.

Khamishong is survived by his wife, Phonesavanh, who he married in November, 1993. Khamishong also leaves behind two daughters, Malissa and Martina, ages 18 and 12.

Outside of his family life, Khamishong served as a custodian for Blue Valley Northwest High School for 20 years.

According to current BVNW lead custodian, Matt Budney, Khamishong was in charge of cleaning the World Language and Science Departments hallways.

“He formed really good relationships with teachers in the 200 and 300 hallways. They loved him,” Budney said. “They could always tell whether or not he had been there to clean the night before because he always did such a good job.”

One of the teachers in the 200 hallway, Spanish teacher Marlee Coyne, has been at BVNW since the opening in 1993 and was there when Khamishong first started working.

“[Souk] was a gentleman who was always willing to do something extra, he always came in and greeted [me] by name and he was just a really nice person,” Coyne said.

Coyne said she and Khamishong bonded over the music she would play in her room after school, while finishing up work.

“I would be playing music and he would stop by and say ‘hey I like this music,’” Coyne said. “So, I started to play the music he liked and he would always stop by my room and visit.”

Both Budney and Coyne agreed, in addition to his kind personality, Khamishong was a hard worker and dedicated to his job.

“He was always there and always reliable, I didn’t have to ask him to do something because he knew what needed to be done,” Budney said.

BVNW science teacher, Nanet Sula, also remembers Khamishong’s diligent work ethic, as well as his overall loveable character.

“Souk was one of the most friendly and kind-hearted people I knew,” Sula said. “He would always greet me with a smile and asked how I was doing.”

Sula added Khamishong never complained despite the science rooms oftentimes being messy.

“Souk did an amazing job here at BVNW,” Sula said. “The science rooms can get very messy [but] Souk never complained and always made our room spotless for the next day.”

Sula added that when she would stay late to help students prepare for an upcoming exam, Khamishong would stay late to clean her room, even though it conflicted with his schedule.

Due to Khamishong’s unparalleled service at BVNW, an anonymous staff member nominated him to receive the Distinguished Service Award, which is presented by the Blue Valley Board of Education.

According to Principal Amy Pressly, two staff members districtwide receive this award each month at the board meeting at the District Offices.

“It is a very big deal,” Pressly said. “You can go your whole career in Blue Valley and never receive this award.”

Although not the nominator, Coyne said Khamishong deserved the award on account of his hard work ethic and unfailingly nice personality.

Furthermore, Budney said Khamishong was nominated due to his dependability and the ways in which he interacted with fellow staff members.

This story was originally published on The Express and Husky Headlines on October 9, 2019.