While many students only associate the hard work of cleaning up after themselves with the custodians, some may be surprised to know that this is not always the case. For years, different classes have been cleaning up the cafeteria as a way to teach their students more than sterilization skills.
“(We do this) To help teach the kids life skills. This would be working on skills that could be employable, learn how to organize, learn how to wash, learn how to clean. These kinds of things,” teacher Craig Bright said.
Students in Bright’s class go out after third lunch and pick up any trash left over by their fellow students. They also wipe down and scrub the tables before they are satisfied with their work of cleaning up.
“Some really enjoy the routine especially once they learn the skills and they are able to participate,” Bright said. “It’s just like with anyone, some kids really enjoy it and some kids are kind of grumbling and don’t really want to have to get up and do it.”
While this has an active program at the school for a long time, students in Bright’s class do not just do this at Newton High. These students work everyday to make sure that their peers have a clean surface to eat on the following day.
“They have all had an opportunity to experience it, but it’s literally just the ones that are not out on other jobs at that time,” Bright said. “Some students work in other lunch rooms around the district and so our kids actually just stay here. The ones that are still here are the freshmen, sophomores that can’t go out and work.”
The work of a custodian is arduous and meticulous work. Students understand this because of the work that they do. While custodians clean up after students all day, these students only work at cleaning for an hour or so each day.
“We literally take all the tables, spray them down, wipe them off, straighten all the chairs, clean up all the trash, wipe all the food or anything that’s left in the lunchroom,” Bright said. “We just put it back in good order so it’s ready to go the next day.”