It’s no secret that Fairmont is a highly rated academic high school. However, it’s not very often that teens stop and think about the people who work hard to make sure Fairmont is a safe environment for students and staff. Behind the scenes, custodians maintain a clean and healthy atmosphere for everyone who enters Fairmont’s doors.
Fairmont’s Head Custodian Brian Marker has only worked at Fairmont for six months but already loves his job. Marker has extensive experience in many trades. Before becoming head custodian, Marker was a carpenter, machinist and cabinet maker. Marker was also an assistant custodian and head custodian at the D.L. Barnes building and Kettering Middle School.
“I’ve seen and done everything,” Marker said.
Marker’s day typically begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.
“When I first get to school, I make sure all the buildings are open and that the teachers have what they need for the day,” said Marker.
Custodial duties are not simply picking up trash and sweeping the floor. Custodians have to be able to repair anything from faulty wiring to broken heaters. They also need to know about the sometimes dangerous chemicals and equipment they are working with to perform their duties safely. Marker knows the inner mechanics of the school like the back of his hand, but he also finds his work with people extremely rewarding.
“I enjoy interacting with the students and staff,” said Marker. “I love seeing kids walk through the halls happy knowing they are in a safe environment.”
In his heart, Marker will always have a special place for Fairmont. “I am proud to work at the No. 1 high school in Ohio,” he said.
Assistant custodian Nathan Hisel has been working at Fairmont for 14 years and still loves his job. “My favorite part about my job is the students and staff I work with,” he said.
For Hisel, custodial work runs in the family; his mother, Marsha Ryles, also works at Fairmont after retiring from being a Dayton police officer. She was also involved with the Police Athletic Program, working with teenagers to show them a more positive and crime-free way of life.
Hisel usually has a pretty busy day ahead of him when he arrives at Fairmont. He cleans everything from restrooms to classrooms, empties trashcans and dusts the top of the locker bays.
Donny Bradam, an East Unit custodian, also remains very active throughout the day. “Most days we’ll just work straight through the day,” he said. “A lot of times, even when we are eating, we get calls to wipe up blood or vomit.”
Their jobs obviously can be challenging, and sometimes custodians feel like they aren’t appreciated enough for the hard work and long hours they put into the upkeep of the school.
Bradam says he thinks students should be responsible and pick up their own trash so the custodians don’t have to clean up after them. “I don’t know why students don’t do more to maintain the school,” Bradam said. “It is their school, too.”
When people do compliment Bradam, it assures him that he is doing a superb job maintaining the school. Every once in awhile, “it is nice to get patted on the back,” he said.
While some may not notice how nice the school appears, Bradam says the administrators value the hard work they do. “After winter break, Mr. Von Handorf praised me by saying how great the school looked,” Bradam said. “But what really makes me feel good is when students compliment me.”
However, not everybody is oblivious. Sarah Bennett, a senior at Fairmont, took the time to write a letter to The Flyer praising custodians for the hard work they do to keep the school clean. “You are superheros,” the letter reads. “Not very many people are willing to do what you do. So thank you, janitors. Fairmont loves you.”