West’s Custodial Staff

Phineas Johnson

West’s custodians do a lot to help our school, but it seems to me that not many students know exactly who they are or what they do. I interviewed West High’s head custodians, Ronnie Johnson and Bill Anderson (the night custodian), to find out more.

What duties do you have around the school?

As their list of tasks quickly showed, the custodians’ duties are virtually endless. The custodial staff takes care of everything from the school’s outward appearance to safety, maintaining lockers, keeping the clocks accurate, and dealing with bats. Obviously, that is a 24/7 job.

Has COVID-19 changed your job at all?

In short, it has. Bill Anderson said that, because of COVID-19, cleaning is “double, maybe triple” what it was before. New cleanliness standards have led to an increase in work for West’s custodians. New requirements include better air filters, changing filters more often, and frequently cleaning touch points such as handrails.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Ronnie Johnson took a second to think, then replied with, “There’s nothing really hard, but some things get frustrating, like when you walk down the hallways and see all the trash on the floor instead of in a trash can.” Bill agreed with Ronnie, citing the carelessness that kids sometimes show as the most frustrating part of his job.

What can kids do to make your life easier?

Ronnie answered quickly: “Just do the obvious things.” Things students can do to make custodians’ lives easier include not littering or vandalizing the walls. I know that everyone at West has the capacity to avoid those things.

How many people are on the custodial staff?

There are 15 right now, but there are usually around 20. They are hiring!

What was your favorite experience with this job?

Both custodians had similar answers. Ronnie said that he “enjoy[s] just being around the students. Watching the kids I coached when they were 5, then watching them graduate has been an awesome experience for me.” Bill agreed with him, adding that “my favorite [part] is watching the kids [working for me] progress, [and] seeing them climb the ladder.”

West’s custodial staff contributes a lot to our school, and overlooking their efforts should be a crime. It’s not that hard to make their jobs a little easier. So, the next time you want to just drop your trash, stop and think about who would have to clean it up.