Recognizing Excellence

By Mackenzie Wallace

Polished floor tiles and immaculate table surfaces shine brightly with the pride of the work that goes into getting them that way. Although the wear and tear brought on by students moving through the campus may leave the hallways and classrooms in an exhausted state by the end of the day, the hard working members of the custodial staff stay late into the night to restore the school to its former glory by morning.

Recently awarded by the district as a Facility Maintenance Manager of the Year, Javier Romero stands out among this group. Often staying until 11 o’clock at night after attending to the day’s various issues around campus, Romero’s dedication to the school and its students compares second to none.

“I would like to keep the campus clean for students and do extras for them,” Romero said. “Extras would be like preparing for you guys and cleaning for the next morning. Whenever there’s repairs, I do the repairs.”

For the past 20 years, Romero worked as a part of the custodial staff, his efforts bettering the lives of all who pass through the halls. Today, his commitment to the job strikes nothing short of admirable.

“I care for the students and care for the school,” Romero said.

In the frenzy of moving to classes and socializing with friends, students may not necessarily take notice of their trash dropped on to the floors or messes made in the cafeteria. However, Romero and the rest of the custodial staff work fervently every day to clean up and maintain a healthy environment for the students and faculty.

“There’s trash and spills; students don’t see that and we catch it,” Romero said. “If we don’t catch it, what happens?”

However, one of the main issues the custodial staff is facing is the fight against graffiti. Crudely scribbled words and phrases littering the bathroom walls may take three to four hours to remove and does not come cheaply.

“The main thing is graffiti, it’s very expensive to remove,” Romero said. “A little bottle of the graffiti remover may be like 15 dollars.”

Wasted paper towels and toilet paper make up another large expense to account for, over $4,000 dished out every two weeks to accommodate for the loss of supplies. However, even seemingly miniscule actions taken by students, such as not wasting bathroom paper products or writing on the walls, can make a large impact in helping out the critical work of the custodial staff.

“Don’t destroy paper towels,” Romero said. “Not wasting paper towels and toilet paper, that right there can help us.”

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