A lot goes into making a school function and helping students succeed. Administrators make much of the decisions, while teachers grind it out in the classroom. But, it takes a community to teach and reach a child.

And, behind the scenes, there's a strong support group that stands ready to do all the little things that make school a better day. Ask any teacher, student or administrator – the school support staff are the quiet ones behind the scenes. They clean, cook, file leave forms, watch students – their duty list is endless. Armed with a smile, a broom or a bullhorn, they toil and make schools look a little better or run a little smoother.

The Scoop wanted to make sure those workers were recognized for their hard work.

SJS custodian Janeth Lising

Although they often go unnoticed, school custodians, janitors and maintenance staff are some of the kindest people you'd ever have the pleasure of meeting.

After pulling St. John's School custodian Janeth Lising aside from her job for a moment, this reporter learned how much one little interaction can impact a person.

Originally from Lubao, Philippines, Lising has been working as a custodian at St. John's for about three years. She aand six others are tasked with the maintenance of the clean Upper Tumon campus. They're amazing at their job!

Long eight hour shifts are normal for Lising, whose stellar work ethic keeps her on her feet every day.

In a message to Guam youth, Lising said, "Students should be more kind and respectful."

During her long work days, a simple smile or hello from a student can brighten her mood, she said.

After being interviewed, this was proven as Lising had a precious grin spread across her face.

She's always happy to get to know students more and loves every opportunity.

(Luna Puangco/The Scoop)

JFK aide Sara Siguenza

Roaming the hallways of John F. Kennedy High School, one could expect to see the bright smile of school aide Sara Louise P. Siguenza.

Siguenza has been a school aide for 10 months now, enjoying the job and constant interaction with students.

“I love coming to work. I love doing what I love to do, because I learn about students," she said. 

When asked about her role in school, the passionate school aide stressed the importance of ensuring students stay safe.

“My main priority is the safety of the students,” Siguenza said.

Although she's encountered some difficulties in her job, she keeps a positive mindset and tries to establish good relationships with students.

“When you learn how to get to know (students) and understand their personality, it’s not so hard. When you show them respect, eventually, they give you the respect back,” she said.

School aides play a variety of roles at school. Not only do they help maintain school cleanliness when needed, they also fill in for any missing positions, sometimes as administrative clerks or substitute teachers.

Formerly a teacher’s assistant, Siguenza has worked in the Guam Department of Education for about eight years. She admits that being a school aide is very different from being in the classroom.

“My experience has been wonderful. Being a school aide, to me, it’s fun. We have a variety of jobs,” she said.

Siguenza’s passion for her job and positivity truly radiate through to anyone who meets her.

(Britney Sison/The Scoop)

FD cafeteria worker Eve Vo

Waking up at 2:30 a.m. might seem like a bizarre time to rise and shine, but it's how FD cafeteria worker Eve B. Vo begins every day. As she prepares for the long day at Father Duenas Memorial School’s cafeteria, the sun is still hours away from rising. 

After getting ready for work while most of the world is still sleeping, the first thing Vo does every day is pick up bread at a bakery for the school's students.

Then, it's off to the kitchen, where she starts cooking breakfast as the sun rises. Before 7 a.m., she quickly makes her way to the home of the Friars. 

Vo’s day continues to revolve around food, selling meals and snacks during lunch and after school.

Many might think that after cleaning the cafeteria, she immediately goes home. It's actually quite the contrary. After her last customer leaves, Vo immediately takes inventory and handles her sales. The long workday ends at 5 p.m.

It was a challenge for the hard working cafeteria lady to reminisce her daily routine, but she said she finds satisfaction when she sees customers happily eating her delicious food.

“You have to get on top of things every time. That means making changes according with the current trends,” Vo said.

(Ron Rocky Coloma/The Scoop)

Harvest librarian Robert Shuck 

Every student at Harvest Christian Academy grows up knowing "Mr. Bob."

Whether it’s during first grade library time or doing research for an essay, the kind-hearted librarian is always dependable.

From his desk in the middle of the school library, Robert “Bob” Shuck has served Harvest for 20 years, providing its student body with books and resources of all kinds.

As the library's primary caretaker, Shuck’s job includes everything from making book budgets to reading to first graders.

“My biggest joy is when I see a kid come into the library, we find a book that they want, and they leave here with the biggest grin on their face,” Shuck said. “It means that I bought something that somebody wants.”

As someone who’s been surrounded by books since 1970, Shuck said he firmly believes reading is a vital part of life.

“I think everybody should be reading something beyond their curriculum,” he said with two dozen books open on his desk. “As I tell the little kids, you can go anywhere in the world and never leave your bedroom.”

Having watched students come and go for nearly two decades, the librarian has seen it all. From his experiences, he had one last piece of advice:

“Every good librarian is going to tell you to pursue what makes your heart go pitter-patter. ... So, there’s your question. What makes you happy?

(Sandra Han/The Scoop)


The Scoop coordinator, Spots on The Rock columnist and Life documenter. Email: tihu@postguam.com. Follow Tihu on Twitter and Instagram at @tihualujan.

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