As National Custodian Day approaches, we spotlight the often overlooked yet crucial members of our school community, Teresa Marsalis Vasquez and Yoni Nava, custodians at Park City School District, who keep our schools clean, safe, and running smoothly.
Teresa Marsalis Vasquez has been with the district for almost six years. With passion and dedication, Teresa and Yoni collaborate to maintain an orderly and clean environment, ensuring a safe and healthy space for students and staff.
Yoni Nava, another custodian who has been with the district for six years, pointed out how his role as a head custodian is not just about opening doors or checking restrooms but involves dealing with more complex issues like leaks. “I think they don’t see us do the hard work,” Yoni shared. He expressed his wish for more community cooperation and a better attitude toward the custodian staff, emphasizing the need for mutual support and a positive atmosphere.
Passion for the Job:
When asked about her favorite part of working at the school, Teresa enthusiastically shared her enjoyment of interacting with the students.
“When we are cleaning the building, and the kids are not here (during the summer), I get one month is fine, but after one month, I'm like, I really miss these kids, said Teresa. “I had never thought I would say this, but the kids are the best part of this job.”
Teresa added that she is incredibly excited because her son attends Treasure Mountain Junior High School, and her daughter will be there next year. Seeing each of them go through a great school district makes her proud of her work.
For Yoni, the favorite part of his job is interacting with the children, who bring joy and ease to his daily tasks.
“The kids are a lot of fun, and for me, it makes my job a lot easier knowing that my work has a huge impact on their learning experience,” said Yoni. “Every kid is destined to be great, and when I am cleaning, I imagine my children in this school and want to ensure they are safe, healthy, and have the best learning environment.”
The Unseen Hard Work:
Teresa wishes that people understood the amount of hard work and time that goes into keeping the buildings clean. Cleaning is laborious, carried out both at night and in the morning. While the fruits of their labor often go unnoticed, as people tend only to see when things are dirty, Teresa emphasizes that custodial work is more than just earning a salary; it’s about dedication and effort to maintain a welcoming environment for all.
Yoni revealed that the extensive snow removal, particularly around the school's stairs, is a significant part of his routine that often goes unnoticed. Teresa and Yoni exemplify commitment, responsibility, and love in their roles, contributing immensely to creating a conducive learning environment. They are the unseen heroes, ensuring every child has a safe and clean space to learn and grow. A bit more appreciation and understanding of their hard work would go a long way in making their job more rewarding.
More than Cleaners:
Teresa highlights that a custodian’s role is not just confined to cleaning; it is about ensuring safety and addressing behavioral and mental challenges among students. They often deal with unseen struggles, trying to understand what goes on in the children's minds and maintaining order and security on the school premises. The custodians work tirelessly, even in unfavorable conditions like rain, performing routine checks and ensuring that every door is secure, contributing to everyone's well-being within the school environment.
The Need for Appreciation:
The community can show appreciation by understanding and recognizing the custodian’s role as pivotal. It’s more than just dealing with cleanliness; it’s about dealing with students' behaviors safely and ensuring security, and sometimes, it’s about understanding and addressing the students' unseen struggles and mental health issues. Teresa, Yoni, and her colleagues are not just ‘janitors’; they play a multifaceted role in sustaining a healthy and secure learning environment.
The stories of Teresa and Yoni bring to light the significant yet often underappreciated roles that custodians play in our school district. Their commitment goes beyond cleaning; they are our children's silent guardians and friends, ensuring a safe and nurturing environment for learning.
On this National Custodian Day, let’s take a moment to express our gratitude to Teresa, Yoni, and all the custodians who work behind the scenes, keeping our schools in optimal condition.