Assistant janitors build work ethic, confidence

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Roseville High School junior Jonathan Varela along with other students have begun to work alongside RHS’ janitorial staff for their first jobs to gain work experience.

According to Varela he first applied for the position because it was hard to find a job in his immediate area. Varela says the job has taught him to prioritize, be appreciative, and responsible.
“I wasn’t able to go out and work at other places because I could not commute so it is cool that [this] came through by allowing me to be an assistant janitor,” Varela said. “[It] taught me to just work harder at anything you do because the more you improve you can be faster and better so you can keep improving and getting better at what you do.”
The assistant janitors are expected to be on time when coming to work as well as to get along with others on the janitorial staff. The students are also being taught time management and social skills.
“[It’s] important to me because it shows me how to be responsible and it helps me follow through with things like tests as well as listen more,” Chaney said.
Varela and Chaney are paid minimum wage and work from 4:00 to 5:00 every school day; taking out trash and wiping down desks in RHS’ nine hundred buildings. Varela and Chaney receive a paycheck at the end of each month for their contributions.
“It’s my first job, and it is easy to get to work and I am happy with the it because we don’t have to clean toilets and it is nice having a job because I have wanted one for a while now,” Varela said.
According to Varela, working as an assistant janitor has been an experience that gave him a new perspective toward the school.
“The program has taught me to be respectful toward the school and to be responsible as well as to be on time and communicate with all of my coworkers,” Valera said. “At first I was shy but then I realized all of the people were pretty cool and you get to work with different people in different situations.”
RHS janitor and Varela’s boss, Howard Goodall, is in charge of the students working as assistant janitors. According to Goodall, the program has been beneficial to students and custodial staff alike.
Goodall’s partnership with his assistants have been a mutual relationship. When partnered, the janitors and their assistants have caught each other’s mistakes on occasion.
“It has made the school cleaner because with more people you can cover more ground and you can focus on more detail, instead of having one person doing all the work you have two people helping. So there is strength in numbers,” Goodall said.
According to counselor Philomena Crone, students can use it as a stepping stone for work in in the future.
“I love the idea of students being able to walk around the school with a job and learning skills such as attendance, responsibility, punctuality, following directions and working with other people, because one day every student here is going to graduate from Roseville High School and those are all skills you can take going into any job,” Crone said.
According to RHS principal David Byrd, the program is a convenient opportunity for students to make money, as well as an opportunity for students to become actively involved at RHS.
“I really love the idea that we would recruit some of our own to beautify the campus and we compensate them for their time,” Byrd said. “I think that is a very valuable lesson learned and the school can get a lot out of program and so can the assistant janitors.”
According to Byrd, the job also offers students the opportunity to build upon the skills they gained beyond RHS.
“It’s a unique opportunity when you leave RHS and go off into college, they will go into that with great experience, preparation and a resumé as well as a list of references that give you an advantage in a very competitive job market,” Byrd said.
According to Jonathan Varela’s sister Crystal Varela, the job is a good experience for her brother.
“[Jonathan] has become more responsible, gets things done faster than before and has become more respectful to adults,” Crystal Varela said.