A Good Job: Margarita Casas

Each weekday, at around 3 p.m., the hallways fill with chatter as students pack up their belongings, excited it’s the end of the day. An hour later, Margarita Casas starts her day as a member of the evening custodial staff. From 4 p.m. to midnight, she works her way through Lab, ensuring students have a clean space where they can comfortably learn.

While Ms. Casas appreciates the respect shown to her by the limited number of students and faculty present during her hours — specifically math teacher Shauna Anderson — her work is driven by one primary motivation: her four children and five grandchildren, in whom she repeatedly emphasized her pride.   

After moving to Chicago from Mexico in 1990, Ms. Casas has worked as a custodian for 20 years and said the love she has for her job teaches her family an important lesson about working for happiness above all else.

“There’s nothing wrong with what I do. Cleaning toilets, cleaning, I love that. I love my job. I just want to see my kids going far,” she said. “That’s the reason. I love whatever I do because I want to teach them. Whatever they are doing they have to feel happy and comfortable.”

In seeing U-High students walk through the hallways, Ms. Casas said she is reminded of the lesson she taught her kids about the importance of education. A smile spread across her face as she described the education and occupations of each of her children.

“If you love whatever you do, it doesn’t matter what you are doing. You’re always doing a good job.”

So, every time the school’s hallways, bathrooms and classrooms seem to miraculously transform from dirty to clean overnight, appreciate and give thanks to the loving mother and grandmother responsible for that comfort.

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