Recognition of Janitors at BHS

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Recognition of Janitors at BHS

Natalie Votava, Writer

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The students of Barnesville High do not realize how much the custodians do for the school. Some people do not give the janitors the recognition that they deserve. They believe that some people give them the right recognition, and others do not. The custodians do all sorts of things for the school. Don Szweduik said that he and the other custodians make the school run as efficiently and as safe as they can.

Here’s a brief list of the things the custodians do:

  • Make sure everything is running appropriately (boiler)
  • Clean the entire school everyday
  • Clean up after sporting events
  • Mowing the grass around the school
  • Snow Removal
  • Softball, Baseball, and Football field care
  • Fix anything that is broken
  • Set chairs up for assemblies, music concerts, programs, etc…
  • Get everything in and out for Senior and Junior High lunch
  • Prepare the gyms for sporting events and tournaments

The custodians have a long list of jobs to do on the daily. The custodians have three shifts. The first shift is from 6:00 a.m. (most mornings) to 3:30 p.m; 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m; and 4:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Don Szweduik said that they have an instant alert system, so if anything isn’t functioning properly, he will get an alert and will have to go and see what the problem is, even if he is not on the clock.

Our school is very unique because out of all of the surrounding schools we have the longest longevity on average. Almost all of the custodians we have working at the school have been here for 10+ years. Szweduik has been working at the school for the longest. In May of 2019,Szweduik will have worked here for 21 years. He said, “It’s a very good job. It takes certain types of people to work these jobs, and of course you have to be good with kids and the students. It’s not the most gracious job.”

One of the most interesting things that happens on the job are the ghost instances around the school. Don said, “If you are ever here alone, you will hear ghosts. There are ghosts in the high school. Bruce and I were sitting in here one night (custodian’s office), and before we left, we could hear footsteps up in the health room. I went up one staircase, and Bruce went up the other. We went up the health steps, and when we met, there was no one to be seen.” The ghosts’ names are Kevin and Florence. Szweduik also said that former graduate Ben Norman knew of these “ghosts” as well. When asked, Norman knew exactly what story he was going to tell. Norman said:

“So, before my junior year of high school, I was working as a summer custodian. It was my first ever job outside the farm, and let’s just say I had some things to learn. Thankfully, the janitorial staff was super helpful in showing me the ropes. They taught me how to work hard, take proper coffee breaks and also all about the ghosts of  Barnesville Public Schools. My coworkers seized on this opportunity, convincing me that there were ghosts in the schools. I laughed them off at first, but then I started hearing things–especially in the already creepy upstairs floors of the high school. Pair that with every single janitor being in on the joke, and I was semi-terrified that spirits were out to get me. It all culminated with this stupid wooden chair that the janitors said was haunted and moved around the elementary school. I laughed them off, unconvinced, even though it’d show up in dark hallways and classrooms unexpectedly. That always got a little jump from me. Then, one day, I drove home 15 minutes to the farm, got out of my car, and happened to look in my backseat. The chair was there, and I screamed. Today, I’m convinced that those schools are haunted. The janitors will tell you the same.”


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