Custodial dedication keeps up 100-year-old building

David Crafton cleans up the cafeteria after second lunch on March 13. Seventeen custodians are on staff at WGHS. (Photo by Kevin Killeen)

Kevin Killeen

“Our only job is to provide a safe learning environment for the students here at Webster Groves High School,” said custodian Angela Marler.

Seventeen custodians are on staff, and although they seem to have a sly way about going unnoticed while cleaning, it is clear to principal Jon Clark that they go above and beyond in keeping the building clean.

“I think they’re some of the hardest workers we have in the building,” said Clark. “This 100-year-old building looks great because of their dedication and commitment. They have such pride in this building.”

“A lot of students don’t know who we are or what we do,” said Marler.

“They keep to themselves, but I think they do a great job at what they do,” said junior Caleb Cowin.

The custodians work in three shifts, some of which have late, stressful hours. The Day Shift goes from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Swing Shift goes from 11a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the Night Shift goes from 2:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“I’ve worked every shift,” said Marler. “It’s difficult, and you’ve got to arrange your whole schedule around your hours. It’s stressful trying to get things done working those hours.”

Custodians at the high school work during winter, spring and summer break, only receiving days off for paid holidays, including:  Christmas, New Year’s, Fourth of July, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day and Martin Luther King Day. During summer hours all custodians work 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“I believe that some people recognize what we do but don’t understand how to show appreciation,” said Marler.

The custodial staff ultimately asks that students respect bathrooms and the cafeteria.

“Treat it (the building) like it’s your home away from home because a lot of students spend more time here than their actual home, with activities and things they do after school,” Marler said.

“Everything you do affects someone else, let it be in a positive or negative way,” Marler said.

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