Bronx Science’s Cleanest

Mr.+Connelly+says+being+civil+to+one+another+and+having+common+courtesy+are+important+traits+for+anyone+to+have.+

Sazida Marzia

Mr. Connelly says being civil to one another and having common courtesy are important traits for anyone to have.

A team of eleven custodians work over 40 hours a week at our school, yet they don’t gain much recognition for their work amongst the student body. Our custodians are a crucial part of our school environment, working behind the scenes to keep the building  clean. Keeping a school of over three thousand students and hundreds of teachers in the best possible condition is no easy task, and the custodians get all the credit for doing it every day. Despite passing them by in our halls for years, most of us don’t even know their names.

Eugene Connolly, the Building Engineer and the head of the Custodial Staff, has worked at Bronx Science for over thirteen years. Surviving administration shifts and student body changes in his time at Bronx Science, Mr. Connolly remembers a time when the school was quite different. While the building hasn’t changed much in appearance since it was built in 1959, there have been many improvements to the building’s architecture and utilities. For this, Mr. Connolly credits the Alumni Foundation. “I can’t tell you the amount of work that they have done. They did the seats in the auditorium, redid the library. I know it doesn’t look like much has changed since 1959, but if you saw the way it was before…only the east side had air conditioning. It is truly phenomenal how much they have helped.” 

It’s easy to take our vacations for granted. After all, it’s an opportunity to stay home, away from school. However, the custodial staff only has a fraction of our time off. Instead, the staff must come to work to ‘catch up’ on cleaning the school. On top of the daily cleaning, the four major seasonal breaks are all cleaning periods used for bringing the school ‘back under control.’ “Teachers, meaning well, ask my guys, ‘Oh, how was your vacation’— we don’t really get a vacation,” said Mr. Connolly. Due to the immense amount of work, the only days the custodians truly get a break are Christmas Day and New Years. Yet, Mr. Connolly doesn’t complain. “The staff knew what they were signing up for. It’s a job that has to be done.”

One thing, however, is inexcusable. The treatment of our bathrooms directly affects our janitors’ well-being. Trashing the bathrooms with toilet paper, bottles, or even food, in an attempt to be funny causes harm to our custodians. The shortsightedness of students who intentionally mess up our bathrooms only adds to the jobs the custodians already have to do. According to Mr. Connolly, the custodians have a schedule to follow throughout the day, and major incidents take away from the jobs that need to be done. “It’s very frustrating when somebody, a low percentage of the students, trash the bathrooms. It happens all the time. It’s disrespectful to the other students. When somebody does this to be funny, it detracts from somebody else. I wish the civility and courtesy would be extended to each other,” said Mr. Connolly.

Regardless of the minority, Mr. Connolly still holds Bronx Science students to a high regard. He believes that this school provides a great path for our futures, and that the challenges we face today are preparing us for the rest of our lives. The work he and his staff does is for us, after all. “To tell you the truth, I have three thousand bosses. The kids are my bosses.”

“To tell you the truth, I have three thousand bosses. The kids are my bosses.”

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