On a daily basis, his warm smile greets students in the hallway, and he can be seen skillfully maneuvering through hallway crowds in his golf cart. He frequently attends our sporting events as well, as this is one of his favorite aspects of being on the day shift – sometimes, he’ll come back to campus to join us in the stands at football and basketball games. Meet Abel, the janitor at Leigh High School. He arrives at Leigh at the crack of dawn, leaving his house at 5:15 a.m., and ends the day with Leigh High School students at around 2:30 p.m.. With high spirits and love for interacting with the student population, Abel has been working at Leigh for two years, with previous experience at a junior high and elementary school.
Abel works hard to maintain Leigh High School’s campus. On the scale of 1-10, with 1 being spotless, he awards Leigh students with a 7 or 8 – a number that can hopefully be decreased with individual efforts throughout the year. However, the students owe this cleanliness greatly to him.
“I find that if you keep an area clean, kids have a lesser tendency to throw things down. Just keep throwing your trash away. We got trash cans everywhere – I put em all over campus. Just remember to think: would you want someone doing that at your house?”
Outside of Leigh, Abel enjoys fishing, golfing, and has always loved football – especially the Raiders and the San Jose State Spartans. He is a devoted grandfather of three, whom he loves to spend time with. To Abel, next to spending time with his grandchildren, music is one of the greatest influences in his life, which relaxes him and gives him an outlet to get rid of stress. Just this past year, he’s attended about 35 concerts.
During his years at Yerba Buena High School, he was part of garageband, “Better than Nothing.” To this day, he and his friends practice twice a week and hold casual open mic nights on Saturdays, performing a variety of genres, including blues and rock, in a barn-transformed-studio. Abel’s specialty is the bass guitar, which he has been playing since age 7.
“I had an Uncle who used to take me to concerts…Just seeing guys performing on the stage, everyone going crazy… I never really had the desire to make it big in music – I’ve always just enjoyed playing it.”
To this day, Abel still has his first bass guitar, which his greatest role model, his father, bought for him.
“I live with my dad now, and take care of him. He’s in his 70’s, an ex retired vietnam vet. My dad always did what he could. When I told him I wanted to play bass guitar, he went and actually sold one of his cars to get me an amp and the whole nine yards.”
Throughout his various experiences and jobs, Abel has always followed his own intuition, and this has been the key to self-fulfillment in his life. His advice for us students, in addition to his life motto, “be nice or go home,” is exactly that.
“Be yourself, do what you want to do. Don’t care what people think. That’s one thing I miss about highschool. Once you get out of highschool, nobody cares. I’m telling you the truth. When you’re in highschool, you’re still under your parent’s care and everything. Once you graduate, you’re 18 and not under your parent’s care anymore, but, nobody really wants to hear your problems- everybody’s got problems.Get out there and enjoy life, especially right now.”
This year, Abel hopes to hold a concert at Leigh, and raise the school spirit with the comeback of “Better than Nothing” on our campus. His trusty golf cart also remains unnamed, and Abel hopes to have the student body change this- so be prepared to propose some ideas!