Dedicated staff keeps our campus clean

Mrs. Schommer: “They don’t get much love or respect”


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This crew has the job of cleaning every nook, cranny, classroom, office, restroom and hallway of the entire campus, and they do so on a daily basis.

By Ellie Barnes, Reporter

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a warm May afternoon. The buildings are vacant except for a few wandering students and faculty wrapping up their day, but for the nine people assigned to the night cleaning crew, the day’s work is just beginning.

Evening manager Mrs. Veronica Magdaleno said, “I come in at 4 p.m. and don’t leave until 11 p.m.” During this time, Magdaleno oversees the efforts of the rest of the team. She said, “I open the doors and check that the doors are closed. And I supervise the people that clean the restrooms and everything.”

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, Magdaleno moved to the United States 25 years ago. Magdaleno said, “When I came to America I worked in a hotel, cleaning rooms. Later, I worked at a different hotel serving breakfast. Now, I work here. I like my job, and I like this place.”

Facilities and technology coordinator Mrs. Gara Schommer said, “Veronica is very dedicated to the school and she really wants it to be clean. And if I have to call her the next morning and say something was amiss, she takes it to heart and keeps apologizing. They take (their work) very seriously.”

For Magdeleno and the night time cleaning crew, the work is far from easy.

Schommer said, “The night crews have to do everything.” This includes taking out the trash, cleaning, vacuuming, mopping and wiping down surfaces. Each person has their area or zones. Schommer said, “One person does Cunningham, the wrestling room and the weight room — one person, every night.”

Because of Covid-19, there are now cleaning crews during the day as well. Both the night crew and the day crew work for Xcel. Schommer said, “We have two cleaning crews during the day and they are from Xcel. Their names are (Mr.) Jorge Correa and (Mrs.) Astrid Gramajo. They are always together and they are very funny.” Every day they check the bathrooms from 9 to 11 a.m. During lunch, they clean the cafeteria and pick up trash left by the students. About three to four times a day Schommer will call them about spills and bathroom leaks that they clean up as well. Schommer said, “They will really lend a helping hand to anyone. They have actually helped us do some business office translations to help families that are Spanish-speaking only so they know what’s happening.”

Gramajo moved to America in April 2021 from Guatemala, Mexico. Schommer said, “Astrid has been working days and nights since November. She has a 1-year-old at home. She’s a single mother so she’s been doing double shifts.” Since she moved to America only a year ago, Gramajo knows only the little English she’s picked up from students. She said, “I like to talk to the students. I have learned some English words from them.” Gramajo enjoys her job but there are some challenges. She said, “The hardest part is taking the trash to the dumpster.”

This is for good reason. Schommer said, “The trash cans and dumpsters are in the back of the (Shiel Student Life Center) so all the people in Cunningham and Loretto have to throw the trash out and put it on their car or golf cart and then they have to drive the trash up behind the SLC to throw it away.”

These individuals work hard, yet they can often be forgotten or overlooked by the student body. Schommer said, “The cleaning crews clean every night and no one really knows they do it. They don’t get much love or respect, so I try to give them positive encouragement at all times.”

Without the dedicated effort of these cleaning crews, the Hill would not be the clean and beautiful place it is today. Schommer said, “They are really valuable, and we really need them here.”

On a final note, Schommer said, “They have a bulletin board in their office area that they hang every little thank you note on. They do a lot, so any words of encouragement to them is appreciated and they love seeing the kids around here all the time, so anytime you see them just say ‘hi’ to them.”

As the year draws to a close and the student body shares their appreciation for their teachers and faculty members, remember to also write a little note to show your gratitude to the people who have worked hard all year long to ensure that the Hill is a clean and welcoming place.