The Custodian, a Hero in Disguise:

Miguel Alfaro is a custodian at Blach Intermediate School who is a friend to all of the students.

By Heidi P.

Dry leaves crinkle and the wind whispers as the breeze lifts stray pieces of trash off the ground, momentarily flying before being brought back down to the surface. For once, it seems like peace has found its place on Earth.

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Señor Alfaro poses at lunch while walking around the campus to help clean up.

A man, hands calloused from years of hard work, wheels his supply cart down the grey sidewalks of the school. Glancing up at the sky, the clouds and sun show signs of clear weather. He closes his eyes and takes a slow breath. The quiet lasts a heartbeat, but enough to make him feel as if the world paused just for him.

A sharp, shrill sound emits from all over the campus, signaling the start of lunch. His rest would have to wait.

Miguel Angel Alfaro, born on the seventeenth of March, is at the age of 67, old enough to have surpassed the age of being a senior citizen but still expresses his gratitude and happiness as well as any junior high student.

Alfaro was raised in tropical Macuelizo, a municipality in the Honduran department of Santa Barbara. As a child in such a big family, he lived with his mother, father, two sisters, and four brothers, sharing two rooms with his siblings, one for each gender.

Miguel continued to reside in the small town in the Honduras until 1996, where he moved with his sister to live in the US.

“I came to live here with one of my sisters. But it was hard for me because my wife and my children were in Honduras. I missed my family, I missed the food, I missed everything,” Alfaro stated.

For a short while, Alfaro explained that he went through depression. It felt as if his senses were being played with ― the feeling of humid air against his skin, replaced by the cool, dry air of California.

Alfaro gradually became more accustomed to life in America. He started out as a custodian substitute and maintenance worker for Los Altos School District in the April of 2006. He has been working at Blach as a custodian since the August of 2011, and has a side job at a gas station.

“I applied for a job here because I know that Blach is a nice place to work. I can support my family and pay the rent,” Miguel said. Every day at work for Miguel is like a workout. He wakes up early to get to his job, and starts the day with cleaning the unhygienic bathrooms of Blach.

“My first impression, and my continued impression is that Mr. Miguel is super hardworking, and he thinks of staff needs and student needs first. He’s always making sure our campus is ready for students and staff and he’s really flexible too,” Mrs. Narula, principal of Blach Intermediate School expressed.

“I think he’s very hardworking, I think he’s very kind to us. He’ll say “hi” and he always smiles. He [also] always tries to get us to clean up our trash― in a friendly way,” Souf R., a seventh grader at the Blach school, says.

Miguel voiced his advice about studying hard and making sure that there is something that you as a student enjoyed and wanted to do as a adult because in the future, it will pay off.

If Alfaro could become anything, he would want to become a singer. He enjoys listening to songs such as “Jambalaya,” a song written about food by The Carpenters. Miguel likes to chow down on seafood including shrimp, crab, and fish.

Before he passes away, Alfaro said that he’d like to see every student recycling. He’d like to retire from his job, relax, and sing, whilst knowing that he left the world in the hands of people that cared for the Earth.

Señor Miguel might be older than most people think, but that certainly doesn’t stop him from interacting with the students in Blach. It’ll certainly be a while until Alfaro decides to stop working at our community but for now, he’s enjoying this experience.

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