The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

How AJ Cummings positively impacts school, despite ups and downs of being a custodian

Custodian AJ Cummings drives around school in her golf cart to pick up trash, deliver equipment to teachers and insure that the campus is safe. Photo by Amelia Chu.

When Ajanay Cummings decided to work as a custodian, she had no idea she would be around students. Two years later, and she’s still trying to make the campus a clean and healthy environment while building relationships between the students and staff.

In 2021, Ajanay, who goes by AJ, was hired to join the custodial staff. She was originally placed to work at Ruhkala Elementary School, but the Rocklin Unified School District reassigned her to work at this campus. The district believed her personality was better suited for high school. 

“I had a different mindset, and they moved me here when they [saw] my personality. But it worked out in my favor. It’s pretty chill and everyone’s nice here,” Cummings said.

Known for her positive personality, many students and staff members have said they think very highly of Cummings. Carmela Benson experienced where Cummings’ friendly attitude impacted her day.

“There was one time, I had to come to school early for a leadership event, and [my teacher] wasn’t here yet so there was no way for [me] to get in. [Cummings] saw [me] struggling and she came over and opened the door. She was really happy and smiley, and it really made my mood better,” Benson said.

Activities Director Mr. Jesse Armas, added that it is important for a school to have these types of staff on campus.

“I’ve met some custodians in the past that are very reserved, and don’t want any interaction. [Cummings] is 100% not like that. I think she tries to make an effort, with the students and with the staff, to build relationships. I think that if she continues to do that, then people pick up their trash,” Armas said.

Hearing these compliments, Cummings says she is appreciative that people pay attention to her hard work. As a custodian, she feels like her profession is widely underrated. 

“People walk past us, or not even acknowledge us, so the fact that people are noticing me and my personality – that’s pretty cool,” Cummings said. 

Cummings’ job includes not only cleaning, but ensuring the campus’ safety as well. She is constantly on the lookout for unusual activity that could risk a student’s safety, whether that’s suspicious cars or visitors. She also makes sure that lost items are returned to their owners the best she can.

Due to her demanding job, Cummings faces many challenges, one of which is time management. It’s vital that she knows how to manage her and everyone else’s time in order to complete all her tasks. 

 “I have to manage my time in a timely manner, because if I don’t, it can really mess up the whole week,” Cummings said. 

Despite this, Cummings loves her job. She has had her ups and downs, but it has grown on her. She loves the students, the environment, the staff and the schedule.

  “I enjoy what I do. Some people don’t. I hear my friends talking, [saying] they don’t like their job and I get quiet because I like my job,” Cummings said.

To make her job easier, Cummings asks students to help the custodial staff by  picking up trash. Whether it’s their own, or a piece of trash lying on the ground. Doing this would save Cummings’ time, allowing her to focus on other tasks instead of gathering garbage.

A clean environment is a safe environment. So [picking up] just one trash of yours and throwing it away, saves me time and will look cleaner,” Cummings said. 

To ensure that Cummings knows students and staff notice and value her hard work, Carmela Benson has one request.

“Just say thanks to AJ and really appreciate her!” Benson said. 


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