Divine Intervention: Long days don’t stop Beechwood Elementary School custodian from praying for teachers, students

Published 1:28 pm Thursday, May 18, 2023

Beechwood Elementary School first-grade teacher Carolyn Spencer was working late in her classroom on May 9 when she noticed one of the custodians doing a “final walk-through for the night.”

She also caught him doing something else — kneeling in prayer.

“I looked up at the right moment to see this person kneeling, facing the opposite direction of me in the middle of the hall. I thought to myself, ‘Is this person praying?’” Spencer said in a social media post.

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After it seemed like the custodian had finished his prayers, Spencer said he got up and continued with his duties down another hall in the school.

Spencer said she contemplated whether to find him and ask why he had been kneeling and ultimately decided to track him down.

“I was back and forth about asking,” Spencer said. “So I got up and went looking for the person. I found him and asked, ‘Were you just kneeling and praying in the hall?’”

The custodian, Earl W. Cosey, answered, “Yes, I pray each and every night over the school, over the kids, over the teachers and for a safe environment for them and that they will all be blessed.”

Cosey, a Beechwood custodian who also has a day job, said he had been praying for the children and teachers since he began working at the school three years ago.

“I’ve been doing this (praying) ever since I’ve been working out here (at Beechwood),” Cosey said in an interview. “Once I get off my shift, I say a prayer for all the teachers, all the students and all the people in this world because we need prayer.”

Cosey said he had been inspired to get down on his knees in prayer from messages heard at church as well as from divine intervention.

“God spoke to me to just keep praying because we need prayer over all our students and all our teachers,” he said. “We just need prayer over our nation. So that’s just what got me constantly praying for myself and all of us.”

Cosey admitted his days are long, but that does not keep him from praying daily.

“I just ask the Lord to give me the strength to say a prayer. I get busy because I work 15 hours a day, but I don’t care how many hours I work,” Cosey said. “At the end of the day, I just tell the Lord, ‘Thank You.’”

There are many challenges schools face today and in hearing and witnessing Cosey’s actions, Spencer said tears came to her eyes.

“I just had big whelping tears in my eyes. I knew this school (Beechwood) was blessed, but man oh man, we are blessed big,” Spencer said, referring to Cosey’s vigilant prayers. “I know people pray for teachers. I know people pray for us, but to know that someone specifically kneels to pray every night over us meant the world to me.”

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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