Feces cover the walls. The toilets are clogged. The stall door is broken.
All of these have been real conditions at Webster Groves High School.
Who saves the school from these overwhelming messes?
It’s the job for Webster’s 17 custodians. It is the task of the custodians to do the dirty work.
Angela Marler, who has been a custodian here for 17 years, said, “It’s not a hard job, but it’s a busy job. We do it not really for a reward, but for you guys.”
About the strangest thing she has cleaned up, Marler said, “I had to clean up a slip and slide of baby oil in the hallway. It was the senior prank that year. That was pretty terrible.”
Reggie Savage, school custodian, has worked at WGHS for 12 years and has been in the district for 15 years. He previously worked at the Department of Justice and the County jail. He was laid off, saw an opening for custodian at WGHS and took the job. He never looked back.
“It’s fulfilling to know you did a job. We get a lot of compliments about how clean the school is,” Savage said.
Savage said he enjoys seeing students progress throughout their four years at the high school and seeing them go on to do great things.
“It’s very rewarding. I’ve seen nine or 10 classes for a full four years,” Savage said.
Savage said, “I love the people here.” This will be Savage’s last year here as a custodian because he plans to retire.
Chester Kennedy, who has been a custodian here for 17 years, said he likes the repetition of the job and said, “There are no breaks. I’m always working.”
Kennedy said a typical day involves him coming in early, setting up for breakfast, cleaning the bathrooms and then working nonstop throughout the day until his shift ends.
About what he wants people to know about being a custodian, Kennedy said, “Be yourself, and like what you’re doing.”
The school’s custodians work long hours. Different crews work throughout the day to maintain the school.
“They are here at five in the morning. We have an evening group that is here until 11. They work many Saturdays,” principal Jon Clark said.
Tim Cashel, history teacher and soccer coach, said, “We have a very clean school, partially because we have custodians who walk the halls constantly sweeping up trash. When we have a clean environment, I feel people are less apt to dirty it.”
The custodian who cleans Cashel’s room, Keith Chatman, is “a spiritual leader” of the soccer team.
Chatman gets here at 2:30 p.m. and leaves at 11 p.m.
Chatman, who resides in North County, said, “The atmosphere here at Webster of the young men and women is incredible.”
Cashel told of a time when $50 was left on the ground in his room. Chatman found the $50, and rather than taking it, he left it on Cashel’s desk with a note.
“Nobody would have known if he did the right thing, but he did, and that is the kind of person he is,” Cashel said.
“He is a great person. He is a great coach. It is good to see these teens doing good things, because the news usually exploits the bad things that happen in the community,” Chatman said about Cashel and the soccer team.
Chatman has worked at Webster for 19 years.
“I love watching these kids grow,” said Chatman.
Chatman currently has his associate’s degree in theology and is going for his bachelors. He teaches at Sunday school and preaches gospel.
“I think they’re absolutely amazing,” Dr. Clark said.