//PICTURED ABOVE: 1. Lulu Jasso pushes the cart in Lower Morgan boarding hall. 2. Maria Cendejas uffs up the cushions, retouching the board- ing lounge. 3. Cresencia Garcia folds the bed sheets with the help of a machine. 4. Taking a phone call and armed with her notepad, Carolyn Hoke communicates with the housekeeping staff. 5. Cynthia Fuentes polishes the stove so that it will be clean for its next use.
How is the Nancy A. Nasher and David J. Haemisegger Theater spotlessly clean just moments after a big event? Or what about the Hicks Meeting Room or Biggs Dining Hall? The awnser behind these seemingly magical occurrences lies with five women: the housekeeping staff.
While there are cleaning staff who clean up the entire school during the night, five women, Beverly Harris, Cynthia Fuentes, Cresencia Garcia, Lulu Jasso and Maria Cendejas, clean up after big events and clean the dorms during the day. They get to Hockaday at 6:30 a.m. every morning and end their day at 2 p.m.
“I wake up at 4 a.m. every morning to get here at
6 a.m., and when I get here, I help dust and vacuum the main hall offices. Then at 8 a.m., I go eat breakfast and then clean the dorms at 8:30 a.m.,” Garcia said. “I then help take out all the garbage and continue my day wiping the mirrors, mopping and vacuuming the lounges.”
The majority of the housekeeping staff has worked at Hockaday for over 10 years.
While this is Cendejas’s second year and Jasso’s first year, Garcia has been working at the school for 17 years, Fuentes for 26 years and Harris for 31 years.
“I started working at this school in the kitchen and worked there for 15 years. I then continued working at Hockaday but instead as part of the housekeeping staff,” Harris stated.
Throughout the time they have been at Hockaday, the Housekeeping staff has decided to delegate their duties through assigning each dorm hallway to a staff member and the remaining staff member, which is Jasso, is assigned to clean simple messes throughout the rest of the school.
For instance, since Harris is assigned Lower Trent as her hallway, she cleans the bathrooms and the halls, does the laundry and cleans everything else that pertains to that hallway. Despite the varying duties, the housekeepers ensure to work as a team to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
“We like to do everything together. In the summer we work all around the school to clean more stuff around the school. We work as a unit, as a team,” Garcia said.
Moreover, everything the housekeepers know how to do with regards to cleaning has been acquired from past experience from before they attained the job.
“We clean our house the way we clean at Hockaday. There was no extra training,” Harris explained.
None of the housekeepers have an email. Instead, they just complete their normal day-to-day duties unless Director of Housekeeping Carolyn Hoke instructs them to do otherwise.
“I think we enjoy working here so much because we have a wonderful boss who is very nice. She is probably the reason we’ve stayed for so long, because she always understands our problems,” Garcia stated.
Since the housekeeping staff cleans as soon as the boarders leave their dormitories for class, the housekeepers do not get much interaction with the students. Despite this, they still think very highly of the students.
“I only talk to the students when they ask a question, but I never really have an actual conversation with them,” Fuentes explained, “However, a job is a job, and I am happy to do it because every time I talk to the girls at all, they seem very nice.”
Story by Ashlye Dullye, Business Manager
Photos by Ashlye Dullye and Charlotte Dross