Custodians Work Hard to be a Helping Hand at FHN

Credit to Adam Hogan

Every day, people are hard at work cleaning the school and making it a clean environment for everyone. FHN has custodians to thank for that, people who do grueling work every day just so others can have a clean place to thrive and learn. For the past 16 years, Stephanie Wolfe has been working as a custodian for the school district at Harvest Ridge Elementary and Francis Howell North. She went to school at FHN, graduated in 1997 and continues to work in one of her favorite places to be.

“My mom was a custodian when I was in high school, and I would come up and help her every once in a while,” Wolfe said. “I enjoyed being around the kids, but I didn’t want to be in the classroom setting. So, I still get to interact with the kids.”

Wolfe has been a custodian most of her career, and enjoys it. She and other custodians do so much for the school, which is  more than most may think and appreciate.

“In the mornings I have to come in and turn on all the lights and unlock the doors,” Wolfe said.” Then each custodian has their own area to do. My section is the Learning Commons and science wing bathrooms. I take care of deliveries, I get the calls for any cleanups that need to be done and answer the radio. I try to make it a safe environment for the kids and a clean environment.”

Stacy Buss is also a custodian at FHN. She’s worked here for the past four years, and talking with students is one of her favorite parts of the day. She also does a lot for the school to keep everything clean and maintained at all times.

“I clean up after all the lunches and spills in the classrooms. Also, we have a run in the afternoon where I have to clean classrooms and the bathrooms,” Buss said. “As long as everything gets done, there’s no particular order.”

Despite all of the messes the custodians clean up and hard work their job requires daily, there are also things that make every day worth it.

“I like to find out what [students’] plans are for the future, what colleges they want to go to, their interests and how they want to pursue their lives after they graduate,” Wolfe said. “The best part of my job would be seeing the students’ faces and being able to talk to them and interact with them.”

According to Wolfe, the great things about being a custodian outweigh the bad, though there are some things that no one really knows about what they do.

“Most people don’t know that we’re here even when school is called off,” Wolfe said. “The custodians are usually here doing things whenever you guys are on your breaks and snow days and stuff, we’re still here. We’re the ones that pretty much are behind the scenes doing the things that people mostly take for granted. We’re the ones that have to keep going.”

Michael is obviously the best”

— Sophie Carite

Custodians also have a life outside of school when they get home. A typical job could take away from time at home with families, but not for some custodians.

“It doesn’t really [affect my life at home] because I’m working while my family is either at work or at school,” Wolfe said. “My son likes to see it when we go out and students call me out when they see me and stuff.”

At FHN, custodians are treated very well by students and staff according to Buss and Wolfe. Buss and Wolfe have been friends for awhile, but for custodians, friendship goes beyond the workday.

“Everyone in the community I consider a friend,” Wolfe said. “Not everyone is a close friend, but still a friend.”