Recognizing IHS’s Unsung Heroes


Devin Tykodi

LUNCH LEFTOVERS Sophomore Matthew Dolliver stands in the lunchroom. Dolliver wants the custodians to extend their after lunch cleaning to all floors. He says, “I would love he second floor to be cleaned after lunch because sometimes particularly around the trash cans it’s very filthy.”

Devin Tykodi, Staff Writer

“I’d definitely give the custodians a 10 out 10 because the bathrooms are very nice.”

— Sophomore Matthew Dolliver

The buses park and the students subsequently depart them. They then make their daily descent down to IHS’s entrance. As students pass through the doors they are immediately blinded by the shine of the school’s floors. As far as the eye can see, there is not a single piece of garbage on the floor. The school is virtually spotless due to the work of the custodians. Society has many unsung heroes who do jobs for very little recognition. Everyone knows to revere firemen and police officers, but one is hard pressed to find people who proudly voice their admiration or sincere respect for custodians. Custodians at IHS are expected to keep the school clean. In order to do so, they are tasked with numerous jobs. This can include standard tasks such as mopping the floor or taking out the trash but then there are also unnecessary jobs that are created by us, the people they are cleaning up after, which unfairly burden people who work with little to no thanks from those that they are helping. This extra work can make the life of a custodian very frustrating and quite frankly disgusting.

Custodians are tasked with keeping the schools bathrooms clean. Freshman Bas van Diepen says, “I’d give the custodians an eight out of 10 for the cleanliness of the bathrooms because while mostly clean they usually smell.”  First impressions are everything and the custodians are leaving a favorable impression on the first year van Diepen. His solid rating is a testament to the custodians’ hard work and dedication to their job. Sophomore Matthew Dolliver says, “I’d definitely give the custodians a 10 out 10 because the bathrooms are very nice.”   Similarly to Dolliver senior Margo Cech says, “I’d give the bathrooms a 10 out of 10 because I’ve never had an issue with using any of them and every time I use one it’s obvious that it had recently been cleaned.” Clearly, the student body is taking note of the custodians’ exceptional maintenance of the school’s bathrooms.

Devin Tykodi
CUSTODIAN NIGHTMARE Freshman Bas van Diepen stands in front of a trash can by the black box theater. van Diepen becomes frustrated when students do not put their trash in the trash

The lunch room is another area of the school that requires a significant amount of maintenance each day. Regarding its cleanliness Cech says, “I’d give the lunch room an eight out of 10 because sometimes on the ground around the trash cans there are a lot of food scraps and wrappers. Also, sometimes my lunch table and my friends’ lunch tables are sticky.” Cech’s answer reflects that the custodians at IHS are human and therefore not perfect. Like anything, there is always room for improvement. Her rating of eight illustrates that despite her complaints she still thinks highly of the custodians’ service.  Junior Huanyan Zheng furthers Cech’s point, saying, “If we want change we have to speak into existence. I think the custodians are doing a great job but I think after lunch the second floor’s trash cans need maintenance. Also, some of hallways on the first floor became very dirty after lunch. The custodians need to remember that not everyone eats lunch in the cafeteria. Some people eat on the second floor, the third floor, hallways on the first floor, and really just everywhere in the school.” Zheng makes an interesting point that students can and do eat lunch all around the school. Perhaps, the custodian’s after lunch cleaning should not be restricted to the lunch room, but extended to other floors and hallways. Dolliver adds, “My friends and I eat lunch on the second floor so we see the mess that is made up there first hand. The second floor becomes dirty after lunch because a lot of people eat up there. Sometimes it will stay like that for the rest of the day.” Clearly, there is an issue with the cleanliness of the second floor after lunch. Hopefully, this issue will either be resolved by the custodians or the students who eat on the second floor. If the students would make a more concerted effort to keep the second floor clean then it would no longer be an issue.

The custodians’ work in the summer received a mix response. Some students were not aware of their work over the summer while other students were very aware. Upon learning of the custodians’ work in the summer it made students consider the propositions of working a summer job. van Diepen says, “It definitely surprises me to hear that the custodians’ busiest season is actually over the summer…I would never consider a job that requires me to work over the summer because summer is the most special time of the year for me.” Many students at IHS take summer vacation for granted and do not realize that it does not last forever. What may appear like a staple in their lives is in fact ephemeral. It is interesting, that van Diepen would not consider a summer job. This shows the high value he places on his summer vacations. Similarly to van Diepen, Cech says, “It is surprising that the custodians work over the summer. I just assumed that they received a summer vacation like the teachers…I would work over the summer if my job required me to. It seems pretty standard for most jobs to make you work over the summer.” It appears to be a common misconception at IHS that the teachers and custodians work a similar schedule because they both work at the same place. While some may have schedules that overlap with teachers, there are others that work night shifts and work over the summer. It is imperative that we recognize the custodians who have been working under the radar for their impeccable cleaning and overall maintenance of the school. Cech is correct that most jobs require one to work over the summer. Thus, having available summers is viewed as one of the perks of being a teacher. On the contrary, freshman Grace Roy says, “It doesn’t surprise me that the custodians’ busiest season is summer because my mom is a teacher and I have observed first-hand the custodians working in the summer. I want to be a doctor in a hospital and they don’t get very much flexibility over their schedules so I’d definitely be okay with working over the summer.” Roy has seen the inner workings of a school due to her mother being a teacher. This has provided her with a unique perspective of the school employees. She says, “Having seen in person how hard the custodians work at my mom’s school it has given me a more profound respect for them. If I see them working at IHS or anywhere I always smile at them.” A smile can make someone’s days. All IHS students should attempt to smile or make a kind gesture when they come in contact with the custodians. Zheng adds, “If I see a custodian around campus I usually say hello and ask how their day is going. It’s the least I could do.” It is very nice to hear that students at IHS are going out their way to be kind to the school’s custodians. More students should try to step out of their comfort zone and say thank you to the custodians for all their hard work. Cech says, “Students should say thank you to the custodians if they see one because they are indirectly promoting our learning by keeping the school clean and safe.” Cech also desires students to be thankful to the custodians. She makes a very insightful point that the environment that custodians create is conducive to our learning. Imagine trying to learn with garbage all over the ground and putrid odors permeating throughout the school. It would certainly be much more difficult to stay focused and learn the required content. So if for nothing else, at least thank the custodians for your learning because they play a critical role in it.

Overall, the consensus of IHS students appears to be that they think the custodians are doing a great job and they feel the importance of recognizing their work. Students gave the custodians very high grades for their maintenance of the school and its bathrooms. Some students had criticism, however, constructive criticism can be a vehicle for improvement. Hopefully, assessing the custodians instrumental work at IHS not only gives them their well-deserved recognition but also allows for them to improve.