Dwayne Young Jr: Working to Make Our School Cleaner


Tabby Norsen

As a student here at West Seattle high school, we can see there are clear issues that we have in our school. One of them being the bathrooms. As you may know, the bathrooms are either closed or marked up constantly. But who has to clean up that mess?  

Dwayne Young Jr. has been the head custodian at West Seattle for 12 years, making our school cleaner and safer. He works on everything that is the school property, including the parking lot, garden, all the classrooms, and more. He’s been working hard since we all returned to school, “Just got to do more wiping down of handles and multi touch points but other than that, it gets cleaned every day instead of every 3 days now, so your classrooms should be cleaner” Dwayne Young Jr. Says. 

Of course, there are upsides and downsides to working here. “Best thing is actually, we have a good group of students and staff, neighborhood is good.” As for the downsides, he says, “there’s really not too many bad things, I mean it’s a school, you’re going to have a 1-3% population that doesn’t care.” By ‘doesn’t care’, he is speaking on the recent problems of vandalism on the school property. Students here have seen this issue through bathrooms being shut down or spray paint and/or trash in the parking lot. “We could be a lot worse.” Dwayne Youngs says, “I’ve been to other schools where it’s more population that do vandalism and don’t have the school spirit/pride.” 

  The issues inside the school and outside are quite different. “The parking lot, they’ll literally just empty out their car right there. You know, those types of people.” The people that Dwayne Young Jr. describes as ‘those type of people’ are the people that just don’t care. “Your always gonna have a population that does that, a population that tries to curve it and a population that just goes with the flow.” But Dwayne is an understanding person, he says, “It’s just kids being kids.”  

As for inside the school, the stalls have been marked up and bathrooms have been closed several times because of vandalism. Things inside the school have changed, Dwayne Young says, “But now with social media everything just blows up and makes it more noticeable or more popular”. Such as ‘devious licks’ which included stealing soap dispenser and stall doors. “It doesn’t take much; it only takes one person.” 

Changing our school for the better will be hard, there’s no question about it. The ASB is planning to paint the walls of the bathroom, but still needs permission from the admins. The students are working hard to come up with ideas to paint as well as volunteers to help with the project. When Dwayne was asked if this could help with vandalism in the bathrooms, his response was, “It couldn’t change; the walls really couldn’t get marked up because that’s open, it’s the stalls that people can hide from.” Still, the project is of great use for service hours and a creative outlet. “I don’t think there’s anything we can change, we’re always gonna have it.” Dwayne says, “They do grow up eventually and once they start having their own kids, they realize how they were.” 

Dwayne Young Jr. is a hard-working staff member at West Seattle high school and deserves the same respect as any other teacher here. As students here, we should see that our actions have effects on people like Dwayne, who must clean up students’ garbage in the parking lot and lunchroom. It only takes one person to make a difference. Make a positive impact on our school today.