We have sad news to report:  long-time Miller-Driscoll School custodian, Juan Carvajal, who was diagnosed with grade IV glioblastoma in 2018, passed away on Friday, March 27. He was 55 years old.

The news was posted on Facebook by a member of Carvajal’s extended family.

Carvajal had worked for the district since 1992.

After his diagnosis and surgery in early 2018, and an ensuing summer receiving chemotherapy and radiation and working with physical therapists, Carvajal surprised teachers and staff at Wilton Public Schools‘ convocation and a rousing celebration to kick off the 2018-2019 school year.

He was introduced to the crowd by superintendent Dr. Kevin Smith, who said, “Through all of it, Juan has been cheerful, optimistic and unbelievably, overwhelmingly positive.” Smith described Carvajal embracing his treatment with “the same kind of zeal with which he lives the rest of his life,” and doing five-times more than the therapist asked him.

Smith then surprised the crowd by saying, “Because Juan is who he is, and he’s a fighter, he wanted to come say, ‘Thank you!’ himself,” Smith announced as gasps and applause filled the auditorium. The teachers rose to give Carvajal a standing ovation that lasted several minutes as he came onstage in a wheelchair accompanied by his wife, son and daughter.

Carvajal is survived by his wife, Beatriz, and his children, Edwin and Veronica.