Mr. Garcia: An unsung hero at WTHS

Olivia Suarez, Contributor to Scratch Paper

Are you a part of a sport at Warren? Perhaps you participate in band or drama? Or maybe you just like eating lunch in the cafeteria? It might be hard to comprehend just how much work it takes to coordinate field preparations for sports or set up the stage for concerts or move chairs around for lunch periods. Still, for Mr. Garcia, a 15-year custodian at WTHS, these behind-the-scenes duties are a part of everyday life. 

Along with many other members of the custodial staff, Mr. Garcia is devoted to maintaining the building and making sure events run smoothly at Warren. Despite its strenuous work, Mr. Garcia always puts on a smiling face and a go-getter’s attitude when tackling tricky technical difficulties.  Many staff members and sports coaches have attested to his dedicated spirit, for instance, Ms. Lonigro, athletic director at WTHS, and Coach McNulty, coach of the varsity football team and assistant coach of the varsity girl’s softball team, both said that they’ve “never seen him in a bad mood.” To elaborate, Coach McNulty added, “He’s awesome, he’s charismatic, he’s personable, he communicates really well. He’s a pleasant guy to be around all the time.” 

This positive spirit correlates with Mr. Garcia’s job performance. Coach McNulty has a lot of experience working with the custodial staff in preparing fields and stands for games. For McNulty, working with Mr. Garcia has been nothing short of excellent. “Mr. Garcia’s the glue that holds everything together as far as facilities and getting stuff done… You can tell when he’s done something because it’s done correctly and clean and it’s awesome. He’s done a great job.” To exemplify Coach McNulty’s statement, Mr. Garcia isn’t afraid to go the extra mile when accomplishing tasks. Dr. Keely, an administrator at Warren, emphasized these caring and dedicated qualities with firsthand experience. “Not only does [Mr. Garcia] care if coaches or teachers have what they need but he also has an eye on kids and knows why it’s important to do something to make the experience better. For example, during the first big run in the playoffs when we played Brother Rice, he took time to make sure we brought heaters all the way down to the south side for our kids. It was a really cold night so he made sure our kids had extras on the sidelines. It was a Saturday game so he took time away from his weekend to make sure he went down there with a truck to prepare everything for our kids. He’s always doing extras.” 

Ms. Lonigro emphasized this hard working attitude that Mr. Garcia sports. “He can come when he’s not even working, or he could be at home working on a project, and I can call him on the cellphone and he’ll say, “I can be there in 20 minutes, I’ll take care of it.” He’s very committed and dedicated to Warren, he’s very proud of the work, as he should be, but if we’re out of something, he will literally drive up here at that moment as long as he’s in the area. He will be here and take care of it. You don’t find people who work as hard as he does.”  Mr. Garcia’s hard work has earned him a vast range of abilities, ensuring that he is able to help with any issue  that occurs within the campus. According to Mr. Parrot, principal at the Almond campus, “Some staff members have specific skills and are very good with HVAC, electrical skills, or maintaining fields. What’s interesting about [Mr. Garcia] is that he’s good at all of these things. He can work on fields, drive plows, he can paint, he can drywall, he’s very diverse in his skillset which is super helpful to a school system.”

When asked how Mr. Garcia has acquired such skills, Mr. Parrot stated, “Most of it I think is from his upbringing and just always being someone who’s willing to figure out how to do something, take something apart and put it together. He’s not afraid to see how something works, and because of that, he’s a very fast learner. Over time, he’s picked up a lot of things from the jobs he’s previously held and he approaches new problems instead of saying “Oh, well I don’t know how to do this so I won’t do it.” He’s someone who’s like, “show me how to do that so I’ll learn how to do it”.  Thanks to Mr. Garcia and the custodial staff, practices and games, activity events and concerts, and everyday school schedules run efficiently at Warren. The next time you see him or another custodial staff member in the hallway, give them a “thank you” for all the hard work they do!