Print Friendly, PDF & Email

FC Real Heroes: Janitors

This is the third in an occasional series on the real heroes on the high school campus. The first in the series, From the IT desk: Robert Hyatt, was published on December 15, 2017. The second in the series, Michelle Logan: Voice behind the intercom, was published April 3, 2018.

Bella Johns | The Feather Online

Chanito Gonzales started working at Fresno Christian in 2008, cleaning hallways and classrooms with his “ghost buster” vacuum.

Fresno Christian’s crew of custodians serve the campus daily by cleaning bathrooms, classrooms, hallways and more, earning them the title of “Real FC Heroes.”

While National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day falls once a year on Oct. 2, Director of Business Operations and employee of 21-years Lisa Raynes believes the campus should show their appreciation every day.

“It is always nice to hear that your hard work is noticed and appreciated,” Raynes said. “They [custodians] are no exception. Our campus would not be as nice as it is if it were not for their diligent efforts. They take great pride in our campus and strive to work together harmoniously.”

Over the years, Raynes has noticed numerous occasions where the campus custodial team has shown qualities equitable to a hero’s. One of these instances occurred on July 27, 2019, when the Early Education building flooded.

“I texted each of them [custodians] that evening and asked them all to show up first thing the next morning to completely empty the contents of the building. Every one of them rearranged their schedules and showed up to help. We had the building emptied in under four hours. I can always count on them to be there for whatever needs arise, big or small, and give it their all joyfully.” — Lisa Raynes

Principal Amy Deffenbacher returned to FC in 2013 after graduating from the school in 1994. She highlights the character traits it takes to be a quality custodian.

“I believe that a good facilities team member is someone who is observant, who sees what needs to be done and gets it done,” Deffenbacher said. “They should be responsive, as many things arise during the day that will need their attention. They will do best if they are happy to serve and meet needs that may not directly benefit themselves.”

In the following tweet, students are reminded to thank a janitor on National Custodian Day and beyond, Oct. 2.

A campus janitor for five years, Tyrone Clayton started working solely for Fresno Christian after working at Peoples Church for ten years. After receiving his high school diploma and attending a technical college, he worked as a janitor for Fresno Community Hospital for five years.

Clayton’s favorite part of his profession is seeing everybody and keeping the buildings clean. His duties include set-up, cleaning, cooking, emptying trash cans, and helping anyone who’s lost on campus. Clayton shares his view of God throughout his time working at Fresno Christian.

“I always looked at him [God] as a high power,” Clayton said. “He’s helped me through a lot of things. You know, coming here, maintaining [the campus], and being here. So I always looked at Him as great you know, good, helpful.”

After the passing of his mom, Clayton endured difficult times and found relief by coming to work and talking with fellow staff members.

“I opened up my heart to a couple of teachers, telling them what I was going through,” Clayton said. “They were able to share stories that they’ve went through and things that they’ve gotten through with prayer. It helped me out hearing their stories.”

In the following podcast, freshman Summer Foshee interviews campus custodian Tyrone Clayton about his profession.

One of Clayton’s proudest moments as a janitor was when he found a cellphone while cleaning in the school buildings. He later met the man who misplaced the phone.

“I saw him and he was really just ecstatic,” Clayton said. “He didn’t even ask me and I was like, ‘Hey, are you looking for something?’ and he was like ‘Yeah I lost my cellphone’. It was the cellphone that I had found. Then I took him to the office to recover it and he was just so apologetic. It felt really good that I was able to help him out because I was cleaning in the area and I had come across it.” 

Similarly to Clayton, Thomas Beasley worked for Peoples Church for 10 years and switched to Fresno Christian in 2014. After graduating from high school, Beasley worked for his dad before coming to the campus.

“I meet my wife and then came the kids and so I needed more income, more of a full-time job,” Beasley said. “So, I worked for the fire department and here when I first started and now it’s just here full time.”

Bella Johns | The Feather Online

Tyrone Clayton, five year Fresno Christian custodian employee, cleans classroom, Nov. 13.

In 2004 Beasley and his friend both cooked in a restaurant when they heard Peoples Church had openings for more custodians.

“He got an application form for himself and for me,” Beasley said. “When I didn’t come down, he turned in my application for me. And all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I got a call to come interview for facilities and so, in 2004, they hired me at Peoples Church. I worked there for 10 years and now I’m on my fifth year with the school.”

Beasley now oversees his fellow custodians as well as maintenance, painting and campus functions. His favorite part of his job involves being around students. This includes his own daughter who is in sixth grade at FC this year.

“I think the best parts,” Beasley said, “are just seeing the kids from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and seeing the progress in their lives even though they don’t really know me. I sit back and I get to watch people and what they do because I’m around everybody so much.”

In 2004, the pastor of Peoples Church, G.L. Johnson, met with Beasley and prayed over his specific needs. Beasley recalls that since then he has felt the Spirit of God move throughout the campus.

“I can see the growth of people and of what God is doing in people’s lives. Seeing my daughter here thrills me that I can have her here and watch her grow in God. Like every other student here, you see the growth spiritually, and that’s something I’m really proud of.” –Thomas Beasley

As well as seeing what the spiritual impact on the students’ lives, Beasley sees God working in his own family.

“He [God] is a huge part of my life,” Beasley continued. “I tried to share God with my kids and my wife and doing that they have grown to know the Lord as they have gotten older.”

Freshman Sarah Upshaw shares a common view with the student body about what a custodian’s job is. She believes a janitor’s occupational purpose is to clean up the messes of the students.

“The first thing I think about when I hear a janitor is a person who cleans things,” Upshaw said. “I think a janitor’s job is to clean up the mess that others make. It’s what they’re hired to do.”

Bella Johns | The Feather Online

Clayton cleans and empties trashcans after school as part of his custodial duties.

Like the majority of students at school, Albert Ramirez, ’21, has had little interaction with the campus custodians. Ramirez remembers talking briefly with a custodian two years ago.

“Well, in my personal opinion, janitors are underrated on our campus,” Ramirez said. “They’re always there to clean up your messes. Having janitors on our campus is important because things would be dirty. I probably would not consider being a janitor myself.”

While he does not plan on becoming a janitor himself, FC Underground host Edward Fikse, ‘24, supports showing respect towards custodians.

“I think a janitor’s job,” Fikse said, “is taking care of the grounds and taking responsibility and just stepping up, fixing up, and anything that deals with the school grounds. (To help janitors) I think we could help pick up. Respect the area, respect their job, and help take care of the area, too.”

International student and junior Vy Le from Cần Thơ, Vietnam, did not initially recognize the word janitor. One difference Le noticed between janitors here and janitors in her previous high school is that they did not clean up during lunch as students did not eat lunch at school.

“I think janitor is the one who cleans up for our school, like restroom, classroom, after school,” Le said. “I think they are very important because they have to clean up and set the chairs after school for you and they keep everything clean. We’re supposed to clean it, too.”

While some of the interviewed students mentioned cleaning up student’s trash as one of the janitor’s duties, neither of the interviewed facility members claimed cleaning up after students as part of their job. Instead, they asked students to clean the mess they made. Staff and administration encourage students during lunch and after school to do their part in throwing away food-related waste.

In the comments section below, share a story of when you saw a facility member be a “Real FC Hero” or comment why you believe a janitor is a real hero.

For more articles, read She Loves Me features comedic musical numbers, captivates audience and Central Valley residents battle air quality, resist climate change.

Summer Foshee can be reached via Twitter and via Email .

Follow The Feather via Twitter @thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.

Your voice is important to us. Share your opinion in the comment box located beneath the Related Posts section.