Local students help custodians clean cafeteria instead of socializing during lunch

What started as an act of kindness has turned into a routine

SAN ANTONIO – What started as an act of kindness at Dolph Briscoe Middle School has turned into a “routine” for one group of eighth-grade students.

The student athletes have cut their own lunches to help the head custodian clean the cafeteria. They pick up trash, wipe down tables and stack chairs. Instead of joining their classmates outside to socialize after lunch, they’re inside working.

“I think all of us just decided that we really wanted to help our custodians because we see how much they do here,” said Tyra Sotelo, Briscoe eighth-grade student. “And I guess helping in the cafeteria is one less job that they have to do because they have to do the entire school. I think that helps them out a lot.”

The students say working together has also brought them closer together.

“We spend time talking to each other during lunch and while we’re stacking chairs,” said Alydia McNeal, Briscoe eighth-grade student. “We talk to each other and tell each other about our day.”

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The student athletes are cleaning up after at least 500 of their classmates, so they must work fast because after the bell, they need to be in class.

“We often say, ‘What do you do when no one is looking and no one is watching?' And they kind of took off with it,” said Christina Rather, Dolph Briscoe Middle School principal. “And we didn’t interrupt them. They didn’t ask for any recognition. They’re not asking for passes, for food, candy, homework passes. They do it because they enjoy helping, and they think it’s the right thing to do.”

Head custodian Patty Avila said their help is very much appreciated.

“Very much, because sometimes we have programs and they help us stack the chairs,” said Avila. “(It’s) 500 to 530 chairs. That’s good for them. That’s a good help for us.”

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About the Author:

Stephanie Serna is a weekday anchor on Good Morning San Antonio and GMSA at 9 a.m. She joined the KSAT 12 News team in November 2009 as a general assignments reporter.