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Custodians are Key to a Sustainable School Campus


Liz North, <a href=Liz North, malady Horner Jr. High custodian" width="300" height="225" />After only a year at Horner Jr. High in Fremont, shop custodian Liz North has made herself a part of the community by working to keep the school green and doing it with pride.

Liz was originally placed at Kennedy High School, hospital and this is where her sorting education started. She was never a recycler until she learned about the practices happening at the school. From there, the movement pulled her in and she carried it on throughout her time at Kennedy, and now at Horner.

Liz partnered up with Neha Ojeda, a teacher at Horner, to start implementing better sorting practices at school. Horner has a 3 bin system including recycling, compost and landfill during lunch time, and students comply with it very well. Students from the special day class take out the compost while leadership students monitor the bins and take the bags to the recycling dumpster. Through partnerships, students and teachers  can easily get involved, helping to take some of the burden off of the custodial staff.

Sorting was a practice Liz picked up and quickly became passionate about, and she believes in relaying that passion to the students. Her advice to other custodians is to get involved in the school, and get students involved. Emphasizing that it is good for the environment will inspire the kids, and make them feel that what they are doing is necessary to helping the planet. A sustainable campus stems from students and staff working together to accomplish this goal. It’s a chain reaction, Liz believes, and the passion will develop over time.

It takes community involvement and appreciation of each other. Liz has received overwhelming gratitude, with students saying that they like to see Ms. North around their campus cleaning up. When walking around the campus with her, students are always greeting her and chatting, and she has made herself a part of this school’s community in her short time here at Horner.