Keeping it up with the kustodians


Rachel Kim, In-Depth Editor

With over 1,200 students wandering in one single building for over seven hours per day and 180 days per year, sanitation and personal hygiene are inevitably factors that can hugely impact Ames High.


By the end of the school day, the restrooms’ garbage cans are overfilled with damp paper towels, pieces of gum are stuck under the desks, and mud, dust, and other debris often track the hallways. Yet magically, the next morning, whiteboards are clean, the carpet is spotless, and desks are polished.


We often take this daily work for granted and often don’t recognize things behind-the-scene that make Ames High such a pristine place. Thanks to the incredibly hard-working custodians, Ames High’s nearly hundred-year-old building is well-maintained to this day.


One of Ames High’s custodians Teri Elrod has worked in the Ames High building for three years. She said, “[Custodians] have a basic [everyday] routine of taking out the trash, cleaning the whiteboards, vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathroom, and cleaning the hallways.”


The custodians work not only during the school year, during and after school, but also work during the summer. Summer cleaning can especially be difficult with heavier physical demands. Elrod said, “We strip the entire room and put it back. But, it is nice that we have a change in routine.”


On the school’s cleanliness, Elrod said, “I think that we have one of the cleanest schools in the school district. I think we work really hard to get it [to this level].”


With only eight to nine custodians cleaning the school, each custodian has great responsibility in keeping their designated hallways clean. In terms of custodians’ goals, Elrod says, “When I walk into a classroom, I want the room to look good and with a level of professionalism. I found that once you get to a good level of clean, students respect [the space] more.”


So next time, don’t leave the “fringies,” (as Sparkman says) of a spiral notebook on the floor. Don’t tear the lead of your mechanical pencil apart and scatter them across the floor. And, don’t stick gum on the bottom of desks.


Take a moment after that track, debate, or play practice after school to stop by a classroom where you hear the vacuum noise or you see the dark gray cylindrical garbage can and get to know your custodians on a first name basis. Thank them in person for always making our school spotless. Today, I met Teri.