As you walk through the halls of your school, you smile at your favorite teachers and wave and say hello to your friends. When asked to think of adults who are admired, many will immediately think of a favorite teacher who has impacted them. They are often the first to be acknowledged and appreciated for all of their hard work and dedication. We are so busy we often overlook those who are not right in front of our faces. The most important people are working behind the scenes without seeking any acknowledgement or approval. Ms. Brenda Jones is that person at Northgate High School.
Ms. Jones, better known as “B,” has been a loyal custodian at Northgate for the past 14 years and gives her all while she is at work and she is the most selfless person. Though she is not frequently recognized for her dedication to the school, Ms. Jones continues to put others first. She ensures that the school is a clean and safe environment for all of the students and staff. She typically works 9 hours a day during the school year and continues her dedication year round. Her busy schedule continues into the summer with long 10 hour shifts everyday to prepare the school for the upcoming year.
Ms. Jones’ favorite thing about being a custodian is, “all of the amazing people throughout the school, including both the students and staff.” She also enjoys how her job is more independent and not as controlled as others. She cleans at her own pace and on her own time, rather than being “constantly told where and when to get things done.”
Outside of work, Ms. Jones loves to spend time with her family. She has four kids and five grandkids who she claims to “love playing with and adore with all of [her] heart.” When asked if she likes being a grandma, she stated that “it is the biggest blessing in the world.” Her favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because one of her favorite things to do is eat. Her favorite food is collard greens and she is a “huge bread lover.” She also enjoys doing hair and all things cosmetology.
Ms. Jones has big plans for her future. She hopes to travel the world with her family in any way possible, one of these ways being in a RV. She claims to believe that it would be a “perfect and cost efficient way to see new places.” One of the top travel destinations on her bucket list is Hawaii. When asked what time she plans to retire, she stated that she is “still unsure about when because [she] want[s] to make the right decision and live with no regrets.” When she does retire, however, she wants to take a few years off to enjoy herself and then continue to serve others before she starts her traveling journey. She plans to work with the elderly in retirement homes by cooking, cleaning, and shopping for them.
Every time you pass Ms. Jones in the halls, you are greeted with the biggest smile. I like to believe that Ms. Jones has never had a bad day, not because she has a perfect life, but rather because she always presents herself in the most positive manner. She does not want others to worry about her, as this would mean the spotlight would be on her, which is something Ms. Jones does not care to have. Her greatest piece of advice for teens in high school is to “first make sure you have God in your life and to choose the true career your heart desires or you won’t succeed and will be miserable.”
Personally, my favorite quality about Ms. Jones is her genuine heart. Every time I have a conversation with her, I know she is truly listening and I never feel rushed. She takes the time out of her day to engage in a simple conversation. Though she has a busy job to get back to, she ensures that every interaction is genuine and meaningful.
Next time you are in the halls, say hello or share a smile with a custodian. Take five minutes out of your day to learn one fact about them. Engage in a conversation with someone new that is not often recognized. Most of all, thank them for all they do. You just might make someone’s day. You might even make a new friend in the process.