R5 Staff Secrets: Solomon Schechter Upper School Custodian Ruben Fabeiro

Give us the scoop—what’s the messiest room in the school? I’ve heard staff call out the lunchroom as the messiest, but I think the messiest is the band room. The kids go in and out all day, instruments and papers get left out. It’s just a heavy-traffic room, but that’s part of our job.

Is the term ‘janitor’ outdated or offensive? We call ourselves ‘maintenance staff,’ but the terms ‘janitor’ and ‘custodian’ don’t bother me. I moved here from El Salvador ten years ago right after high school. This was my first job out of high school, and I didn’t speak the language very well. Someone called me ‘the janitor’ and I said, ‘No, I’m a custodian.’ 

What’s the hardest part of your job? The hours. My day starts at 11 am and finishes at 8 pm. When I’m done at night, there is just a very little time to spend with the family at home. At the beginning, it was very hard for me to get used to the hours. But a friend explained to me that doctors, firefighters, and policemen work these hours. Lots of people do it. It’s just part of life.

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Who are some of the most fun kids to be around? There was a student here who was really into music and playing the DJ. He would carry his laptop and speakers around, lighting people up with his music. He was the school DJ. That was always so much fun.

What’s your favorite Solomon Schechter memory? I started here at the upper school, and then went to the lower school. Now, I’m back here again. Being on both campuses and seeing the little kids grow up, and then go to college–it just feels good. This school community helped me when I was becoming a resident. And then with [Superstorm] Sandy, the school provided shelter and food to the Hartsdale community. Being part of this school community feels really great.

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