#OurNeighborhood: Facilities staff members reflect on work, personal life


Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

Facilities staff members Isaac Velasquez and Reyes Atrian walk to the servery. Velasquez and Atrian both like to play and watch soccer in their free time and have worked together for almost three years.

By Lola Lamberg, Editor-in-Chief

As the buses and carpools arrive every morning, students of all grade levels pour into the Archer campus through the main two glass doors on the veranda on their way to their first-period class. But who opens those doors for us? When facilities staff member Isaac Velasquez arrives on campus, the first thing he does on his workday agenda is open the doors an hour prior to students’ arrival.

Velasquez, along with his fellow facilities team members Maria Chavez, Reyes Atrian, Marcos Lopez and Enrique Montoya, arrives at Archer at 7 a.m. and ends work at 3:30 p.m. — sometimes later.

“I do a lot of stuff here like setting up things, cleaning the bathrooms and helping you guys with anything — we can do it,” Velasquez said.

Velasquez has worked at Archer for 19 years — it will be his twentieth anniversary working for the school later in 2020. Velasquez said he was initially attracted to Archer due to the people.

“Everything is friendly here, and the people are very nice,” Velasquez said. “I am happy to work with the group of people we have here, very happy.”

In his free time, Velasquez said he enjoys watching the Lakers as well as watching soccer. Similarly, his colleague Atrian enjoys playing soccer in his free time. Atrian has worked for Archer for almost three years and was attracted to Archer because of the people but also the general community.

“[Archer] is my second home,” Atrian said. “The community makes me feel like I embolden everything in the school — I feel so great.”

Atrian’s daily work routine, like Velasquez, begins before any students arrive on campus.

“The first thing is checking all around the school, inside and outside and checking if the school has something in the hallways to put away,” Atrian explained. “We do all that along with sweeping, taking out the trash and seeing if we need to do any [event] set-up during the day.”

Maria Chavez is the only woman on the facilities team. She will celebrate her twentieth anniversary at Archer this March. Chavez came to Los Angeles in the 1990s and worked cleaning in a house for almost 11 years before starting at Archer.

Photo credit: Lola Lamberg
Facilities staff member Maria Chavez smiles in the break room while her morning coffee is brewing. Chavez came to Los Angeles in the 1990s and is originally from Guatemala.

“I was working before [Archer] for one person in a house, and the woman I was working for had a daughter [at Archer] — and she said ‘Go to Archer, it’s good for you,'” Chavez said. “I thought about it, and then I came to interview [at Archer] and liked it, and now I love Archer.”

Chavez works at Archer five days a week and said she does “a lot of stuff” in her daily work schedule.

“I check the bathrooms and I wash table cloths and I organize stuff and set-up [events],” Chavez said. “I do a lot of running.”

In Chavez’s free time, she prefers to “stay home” and spend time with her daughter, who is from Mexico.

“I like to stay home and wake up at 10 a.m., and on Saturdays, I like to stay in bed,” Chavez said. “When I stay home, my daughter always says, ‘Can you cook something Guatemalan?’ so I do it.”

Junior Ava Salomon said it’s important to appreciate the “hard” and “beautiful” work the facilities team puts into our school.

“While passing the facilities team members in the hallways, they are always kind — and whenever I see them, I know they’re working hard,” Salomon said. “And we need to remember the fact that just because we may not always notice the hard work they do for us on campus, we would definitely notice the difference if they were not there.”