Appreciation for the Custodial Staff


bhoomi patel

Pope (bottom left) and Piper (top right) pose with some of the custodial staff in exhibition hall. During the summer, custodians from every school in SASD come together to deep clean all of the schools before the new school year starts.

From lunchrooms, classrooms, and bathrooms to sporting events, city rec meetings, and banquets, the SHS custodial staff works in unison to help everyone at SHS and beyond enjoy small and big events.

Head Custodian, Steve Pope, was recently awarded the Athletic Service Award for his excellent custodial service.

“I was surprised. I mean, it’s nice; but there’s more than just myself up here. It takes all of us to make it happen,” Pope says.

As Head Custodian, Pope is in charge of making sure that the daily operations happen. Managing set-ups and tear-downs of various events and giving out special instructions to the weekend and night custodial staff are just a few of his responsibilities.

“We usually do it together as a group. I’ll stage what I can for the night crew, and then we typically have some of the JV and varsity playing in the main gym. The freshmen are down in the fieldhouse. We’ll have half of our group at night go and set the fieldhouse up, and the other half do the main gym, and whoever gets done first will come up and help the others. Then [for] tear down, they can do it as a group because the freshmen game [in the fieldhouse] is done before the [game in the] main gym,” Pope says.

The custodial staff works hard day and night to keep our school clean and functioning properly. With plenty of laughter erupting in their custodial office and many unexpected happenings throughout their day, the next day is always slightly different from the day before.

“I take pride in making sure things run as smoothly as possible. My philosophy is to treat people the way I want to be treated,” Pope says.

Having worked for the Stoughton Area School District for 44 years and two months, Brian Piper is soon to be retiring from SHS. Piper worked as both a custodian and a delivery driver for SASD. From 1978 to 1984, he worked as a custodian; from 1985 to 2017, he began working as a delivery driver, and from 2017 onwards, he became a custodian.

“You get a chance to work with all the custodians. When we team clean, we all go to one school. And you […] do a lot [of] heavier cleaning as far as what you don’t have time to do during the school year,” Piper says.

As a custodian, working in a team is essential to the job. It’s always the little things that matter and what keep the staff together. Piper mentions how they would constantly check up on each other to see if they need help during work or have some humorous moments to keep the mood lively.

“There were days that weren’t as good as others, but at the end of the day, it was what it was. Just knowing that you’re going to come back tomorrow, or the next night and do the same thing all over again […] But it was fine […] We get tired, but when you think the tank is empty, there’s still a little bit left in the darn thing,” Piper says.

While Piper will miss his custodial staff dearly, he will also miss all the students he sees daily. Piper shares that the laughter, the fun memories, his co-workers, and the staff, are all things he will miss dearly.

“I’ve enjoyed working with [the] grounds crew, [and] around all the buildings […] I want to give a shout out to our custodial supervisor, Diana Kittleson for all she’s done. She kept us going during the pandemic […] when we were wondering if we were going to [get] laid off. She came through and kept us busy by [having us paint] all the classrooms that needed painting […] So when the pandemic hit, she did very well with us. She’s done well over the 30 years I’ve known her, and it means a lot to us,” Piper says.