Superheroes Without Capes: SI’s Daily Gift Givers
B&G staff member Mr. Josue Marquez, left, and SI’s Kitchen Staff help students purchase lunch.
Although gift giving is especially emphasized this holiday season, we often overlook the gifts we receive all year round. Not all superheros wear capes, and SI’s building and grounds, kitchen, and custodial staff give to the SI community every day.
There are almost no better examples of superheroes than our Buildings and Grounds team. Josue Marquez, a member of the Buildings & Grounds (B&G) staff, works each day as an essential plant engineer at SI to make the SI campus safe, healthy, and functioning.
Mr. Marquez was first hired as a member of the events team before later transitioning to his current role as a plant engineer in the B&G department. He had no previous experience before joining the team and learned everything on the job. Reflecting on his first month working for SI, Marquez recalls often experiencing high levels of stress, saying, “At times, my brain was so loaded with information, I’d go home with headaches.”
“They are really cool people who do a lot of good work for the school… and a lot of their work just goes unrecognized,” Senior Winston Zapet ’23 said.
While students stayed at home during the COVID lockdown, the B&G team was still hard at work, getting the school ready for the eventual return of students. Mr. Marquez recalled various times when members of the B&G staff worked at school from midnight to 3 and 5 in the morning. Some may know the arduous nature of the work that many in the department undertake, but throughout Marquez’s time the department has continued to transition the way they are approaching their work.
When describing the B&G team, he especially showed gratitude toward the Director of Buildings and Grounds, Christopher Meehan. Mr. Marquez’s remarks on the B&G team sums up the school’s appreciation for this very special group of hard-working individuals: “SI is very lucky to have this group of people. It’s people that make the difference.”
Another underappreciated group at SI is the Carlin Commons kitchen staff. Tommy Wachowitz ’26 said of them, “The kitchen staff are nice and I enjoy having small conversations with them when I go to the Commons.” Mr. Yang, the head of the Kitchen staff, made it clear that the staff’s central goal is “to serve the community.” Mr. Yang has been in the food business for around 20 years from working in fine dining to Meals on Wheels. Another unsung hero of this team is Ms. Schwarz, who works tirelessly in administration for the kitchen to make sure SI students are properly fed.
Mr. Yang makes an effort to be aware of the menu and tries to rotate and refresh it constantly. In addition, the impact that they make extends much further than simply cooking for SI students. “The staff are here early everyday…6:00am, sometimes earlier.” Not only do they craft breakfast and lunch items daily, they create dining experiences for school events such as showcases and the President’s Cabinet Reception.
“The kitchen staff works really hard to make sure people are fed…They wouldn’t be doing it if they were looking for recognition,” remarked Mr. Yang.
“They all do their work with a smile on their face.” - Mr. Escobar
For deans Mr. Escobar and Ms. Sanchez, the school doesn’t run without the work of the Building and Grounds and Kitchen crew. The deans, as the leaders at the forefront of daily school activities, carry a close appreciation for the gifts they bring to the SI community — simply thinking about their words of gratitude brought smiles to the deans’ faces. Ms. Sanchez called them “unsung heroes” for the vibrant energy they bring before and after school, at lunch, and during events. “I don't even think there are enough words to say how much we respect them and are thankful for them at our school.”
“Love is shown more in deeds and words, and they definitely show their love to us for all the work that they do behind the scenes,” Mr. Escobar added, declaring SI’s teams the best Buildings and Grounds and Kitchen Staff around.
When asked about these staff members, SI faculty had nothing but words of praise. Mr. Murphy said, “Imagine life without plumbers or electricians or someone who knows how to keep the building safe and functioning. We don't have to worry about that because of the many hours they put in in order to make sure we have that peace of mind.” Additionally, Ms. Bricker said, “They make certain our shared home is maintained and comfortable, and they keep us nourished. Thank you for your care and love, we often do not see you working but we all feel the many hours of your work each time we enter our school.” Not only do the students need their service to thrive, but the entirety of our SI community.
Melissa Hua ’23, Philip Luongo III ’23, Reilly Moriarty ’23, Jack Quach ’23 and Jack Stecher ’23 are the Vol. 71 Editors-in-Chief.