Los Altos celebrates its custodial workers

By Sanjana Mishra and Anya Sharma

October 2 is set aside as National Custodial Workers’ Recognition Day to acknowledge the efforts of custodial staff around the country. At Los Altos, this day is about appreciating our nine custodians

and groundskeepers who, although not as involved with students as teachers and administrators, also contribute daily to the high school community.

“I traditionally do not think about [the custodial staff] in my day to day life,” senior George Poppitz said. “I think it’s great to take a day to pause and reflect on the valuable impact they have on our school.”

While students and teachers often thank custodians in passing, this day of recognition allows the school to go above and beyond to display their appreciation. In preparation for this holiday, ASB organized gift cards, presents, and handwritten notes to be given to the custodial staff. In addition, they also planned an activity during tutorial to give students the chance to learn more about the school’s custodial staff and write short messages of gratitude.

Some custodial workers start their eight-hour day as early as 6:30 am, but most begin vacuuming classrooms, mopping the bathroom floors, emptying trash cans, and wiping down desks at 2:30 pm until their shift ends at 11 pm. On top of their day to day work, they also get called in to set up and dismantle school-wide events. Shifts have little overlap with class hours, and student interaction with custodial workers is limited — often times, the full extent of their work isn’t observed by a large portion of the school.

“I think they do wonderful behind-the-scenes work here on campus [that] goes unnoticed by a majority of people,” history teacher Sarah Alvarado said. “[Our custodians do] the stuff that most people [wouldn’t] want to do, [and] they do it because they understand the value and contribution it makes to our community.”

A little gratitude goes a long way, and even small things can brighten a custodian’s day.

“Sometimes when we are walking, [students] say thank you, [which we] would not have expected,” custodial staff member Adriana Bonilla said. “That’s why I feel happy, and, [after] ten years [working here], it’s like I just started.