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A Day in the Life of of Ebenezer Oware

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Ebenezer Oware is always at school by 5:45 in the morning

Ebenezer Oware is always at school by 5:45 in the morning

Kate Cressey

Kate Cressey

Ebenezer Oware is always at school by 5:45 in the morning

Sofie Dalton, Reporter

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It is 4:55 a.m. Most students and teachers are fast asleep and will not wake up for several hours. This is not the case for head custodian Ebenezer Oware. He walked into the doors of Yorktown High School at around 4:55 this morning. The latest he ever comes to school is 5:45 a.m. During these early hours Oware is hard at work making sure the building is safe and secure for the students who will soon pour into the school. He spends the early mornings walking around the entire school to make sure the building is secure. His hard work is pivotal in keeping our school both clean and protected.

Oware’s official position at our school is the maintenance supervisor, a job he began in June of 2016. Prior to that he worked as a quality control specialist, going from school to school to ensure that custodians at all the different schools are doing their jobs properly. Before that, he worked in Fairfax County Public Schools.

“I started as a custodian and then went through the ranks to building supervisor at Fairfax County, and I worked with them for about ten years,” Oware said.

Since coming here, Oware has been demonstrating his determined work ethic. He does not have to report to school until six in the morning, but Oware always comes to school early to be there before his staff. His day starts around five in the morning, when he disables the security alarms and then checks the whole building, both inside and outside. This morning, he went outside and cut the grass outside of the school. Afterward, he checked the entire building starting with the restrooms to make sure there was no writing or painting on the walls, or any other type of mess. If there is any problem he has to call another custodian to take care of it. Oware keeps checking the entire building both inside and outside throughout the day.

Oware also goes into the cafeteria during lunchtime to help out. Sometimes administrators call him during the day to assign him tasks or ask him to take care of things. Depending on how busy the other custodians are, Oware may do the work himself, or he may call other custodians to assist him. If there are any problems in the building, Oware and his staff make sure to take care of it as soon as possible.

Oware was not originally planning on being a custodian, but since starting, he has learned to love his job.

“If you can’t get what you like, like what you get,” Oware said.

His positive outlook has helped him enjoy his job. He found it interesting to learn about his job and what it entails, as well as what his employers expect of him. Oware always tries to be ahead of what he needs to do.

“I always try to look for something that I can do to improve things in the school,” Oware said.

Oware’s job is hardest in the summers and winters. In the summers, the custodians have an immense amount of work to do. They strip and wax all the tile floors. They also have to move all the furniture out of the classrooms and shampoo all the carpets. During the winters when there is snow the custodians shovel the walkways and areas around the building in the freezing cold.

There are small acts that students can do to make Oware’s and the other custodian’s jobs easier.

“I would wish the students at least clean up their mess a little bit … maybe pick up trash around your desk and make sure you don’t leave anything in your desk,” Oware said.

Another problem the custodians face is when students mix trash and recycle. Oware wishes that students would learn to differentiate trash from items that can be recycled. It would be a great help to all the custodians, and it is not difficult for students to do.

Outside of school, Oware has a busy life as both a father and student. He has two children and he is a student at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). He is getting his associate degree right now in information technology. After he finishes work today at 2:30, he heads to NOVA for classes.

“I always try to do what I need to do in terms of my education and then helping my son, and then taking care of the house,” Oware said.

Oware hopes to get his bachelor degree and work in information technology in the future. His long term goal is to get a job working the US embassy in his country or in another country.

Oware is from Ghana and he came to the US in November of 2006. He won the Diversity Visa Lottery (DV Lottery), which allows citizens from countries with historically low rates of immigration to the United States to apply for immigrant visas to the US. After winning the DV lottery, Oware and his son immigrated to the US.

Many students take the immaculate hallways, clean classrooms and bathrooms for granted. Our custodians do a tremendous amount of work to keep our school clean and safe. Oware is at the head of a group of staff members that we take for granted, but never should again. Oware deserves a thank you from every student in this school. He is an extremely hardworking individual with an action packed life as a father, student and head custodian. Oware never complains but rather takes on life with a smile on his face, something that everyone can learn from.

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A Day in the Life of of Ebenezer Oware