Alvarez Wins Outstanding Employee Award for Keeping Longfellow Safe and Clean


Photo by Andrea Duggan

Rubenia Alvarez shows some of the hidden areas of the school that are important to keeping the building running from day to day. This is the boiler room, where the schools heating system operates.

Longfellow doesn’t magically become clean and functioning overnight. Before students arrive every day and long after students leave the building, many different staff members are diligently working on maintaining the state of our school. The custodial staff of Longfellow works long and hard hours, and the woman running it all is Rubenia Alvarez.

Alvarez is Longfellow’s Building Supervisor.  Her devotion to the job earned her an award for Outstanding Operational Employee, at both the school and region level, putting her in the running to win for the whole county. However, she doesn’t do the job for the accolades, but for the staff members and every single student who attends Longfellow.

Alvarez said that she enjoys every single time she is able to help a student or talk with a staff member. She loves the feeling of helping a student learn how to open their locker and working with the custodial crew, who are just as committed and hard-working as Alvarez.

She is responsible for everything from managing large appliances like the boiler (heater) and air conditioning to making sure hallways are clean and classrooms have furniture.  She has been working in building supervision for the last 15 years, 7 of them at Longfellow.

“[My work] affects the school by keeping it clean and safe for the community and for the teachers,” Alvarez said.  She wants to make it a positive environment for everyone who uses the building. 

The job requires flexible working hours; Alvarez sometimes stays late into the evening or comes in earlier than students to make sure the building is ready when they arrive. On an average workday, Alvarez arrives at the school building around 6 A.M. working until 2:30 P.M. However, this is not always the case. She often stays as long as she is needed, ranging from late afternoon to early evening, giving up her personal time to come in whenever staff members need it.

“Someone didn’t know how to fix the basketball hoop in the gym for the basketball basket. So I came at like 7:00 PM or 8:00 PM,” she said.

The biggest commitment Alvarez has to make to the job is being flexible in how the school functions. If something were to break or need to be fixed as soon as possible, she would have to make sure that everything can be done in a timely manner.

Next time you see Ms. Alvarez in the hallway make sure to tell her how much you appreciate her work and what she does every day for the school.