Recognition for the Hardworking Novato High Custodians


Powell Nielsen

We know our teachers, staff, and peers by name; but do we know the real caretakers of Novato High? They clean our messes, haul the desks, and do the gritty work that many overlook. The custodians here at Novato High are often forgotten or invisible to many students on campus.

It’s time they’re honored for all their hard work. 

The custodian’s job here at Novato High has its perks and challenges. Micheal Proffitt, Head Custodian, has been on the job for 13 years. While overseeing the facilities as a whole with the custodial department, he also works as an events coordinator and works a lot behind the scenes at Novato High. 

“I like being able to help people, being able to do miscellaneous projects and things, being able to keep the school up. And in general, being able to work with the MSA,” Proffitt said. 

Perhaps unrecognized by many, his job brings fulfillment and makes a real impact on the school and the overall environment. Profitt, along with the other custodians, really take pride in keeping Novato High functioning, and bettering the conditions for students. 

Charlie Atkison, another NHS custodian, who works the swing shift from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., agrees with Profitt on what he likes about being a Novato High custodian. 

“I like getting to help people,” Atkison said.

Not only do Proffitt and Atkison enjoy their jobs, but they also believe in Novato High students, and their growth throughout their high school years. Profitt, in particular, likes seeing motivated students that truly exhibit the ability for Novato High to produce strong, self-sufficient students.

“Seeing the kids and their good attitudes, and the directions they like to go into. When I see them goal-oriented, it’s a positive thing that I like seeing for the kids,” Proffitt remarked.

Along with every teacher here at Novato High, Proffitt believes in Novato students and loves watching them grow. However, like any job, there are many challenges. 

“Lately, I’ve had issues with graffiti and things like that. And it’s either gang-related or students trying to make a name for themselves. Bottom line, good or bad, whatever the situation is, whatever they say in their statements in the grafitti, it’s all vandalism,” Proffitt said.

One thing that really frustrates Proffitt along with the other custodians here at Novato High is the ever-present vandalism that occurs on campus. Not only is the act itself disrespectful to the school’s custodians, it also slows down their jobs, and makes it harder. 

“Do we want to create an environment where it’s okay to write anything anywhere we want? No, we don’t, because it’ll turn the place into a slum,” said Proffitt.

Atkison backs Proffiitt up with recent issues involving vandalism and its impact on his job.

“It takes a little more time. I’m on a schedule, I’ve got eight hours of work to do, and I’ve got more than eight hours of duties,” Atkison said.

It is important to care for the place in which we spend nearly the entire day. Defacing this place of learning, and creating an environment that puts stress on staff and students alike is not appropriate or warranted at Novato High. 

Another challenge that Proffitt faces is the perspective of the administration is often different than the custodial staff.

“Quite honestly, I think it could be better. The oversight of knowing how bad things get and not understanding the situation at our level, a custodial level, and how hard it is to take care of facilities can create a misunderstanding by admin,” Proffitt said, when asked about administrative support.

Administrative power is an important tool at Novato High. Keeping facilities updated and functioning and helping the staff is an integral part of that power. If the custodial staff does not feel supported, the success of the school will reflect that. As custodians, their job is to make the students’ learning environment the best it can be. If they are stuck catering to the school’s every whim, it decreases the effectiveness of their job. 

Many students stand with Proffitt on this level, and feel that the custodians are an essential part of our community. Andrea Zeng-Peterson, a junior at Novato High, believes that the custodial staff deserve our support. 

“I think it’s important that we acknowledge them and give them the recognition they deserve,” Zeng said.

Not only do students stand with Proffitt, but many teachers also believe that custodians at Novato High deserve support from the administration. Social studies teacher Jason Searle, weighed in on the need to remain united.

“Both jobs are interrelated, in that the admin has one perspective on things, and the custodial staff has more of a concrete perspective because they’re doing it on an everyday basis. Working together is incredibly important,” Searle said. 

The Custodial Department plays a crucial role at Novato High. They keep our campus beautiful while creating a comfortable learning environment for all Novato High students. To support them and their department is important to the well-being of our community. Next time a custodian passes by, thank them for their hard work.