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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Student learns about custodian’s typical day

As I lifted the garbage can in room 405, I was ready to faint from the disgusting smell it produced. The garbage can was lined with a mixture of chewed up gum, food, paper and paint. This was just one of many experiences that I had the Friday I shadowed night custodian Octavio Escobedo.

I started my “shift” as a custodian’s assistant helping Escobedo, an 11-year Saratoga High custodian veteran who is known as the “top dog” of the custodian world, according to his fellow employees. I have to admit I was hesitant at first because I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into.

As we entered our first room, room 103, I didn’t pay attention to the overflowing garbage cans in the two corners of the room. It wasn’t until a few moments later that Escobedo told me, “Always take out the garbage from a classroom.” That was my first mistake out of countless more.

After taking out the trash, I stared at the room. There didn't appear to be anything else wrong with it, so I began to walk out, (mistake No. 2) until Escobedo handed me a vacuum and asked me to finish this task for him.

Once I started to vacuum the room, I began to realize how we as students often turn classrooms into pigsties. There were candy wrappers, pencil shavings, random bits of plastic and worst of all, a constant supply of staples and paper clips littering the floor.

After I finished vacuuming, I had a strange pain in the back of my neck, which Escobedo told me happens whenever you vacuum these rooms. After hearing this, I had a newfound respect for him because I realized how difficult and painful his job really is.

When the room was clean, we moved to room 405, occupied by social studies classes, so that I would have a variety of rooms to clean. This time I was given the job of sweeping the tile floors after Escobedo showed me how. Let’s just say his 11 years of experience made him much faster and more skilled than I was.

After sweeping up what seemed to be a pretty sizable mountain of dirt, I began mopping the floor. Only after finishing one-fourth of the classroom was I told that I shouldn’t step into the area where I was mopping, mistake No. 3.

We then moved on to the art room, room 212, where mopping up the floor was an absolute nightmare due to the leftover paint that was etched into the floor.

As the clock in the art room signaled 4:50, my shift was over, not because we had finished all the work but because Escobedo had to head down to the football game to help set up.

By the end of this experience, we had cleaned around four or five rooms, and my arms and neck were sore. I still don’t know how Escobedo and the other custodians here manage to work eight hours a day for six to seven days a week.

From this experience, I learned that custodians are some of the hardest working people in the school and that I should help out any way as possible to make their lives that much easier.

In addition, this experience will come in handy whenever my parents ask me to perform any household chores in the future. “I was a custodian’s assistant for a day,” I’ll tell them. “That’s enough work for a lifetime.”

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