Our school is a machine, a well-oiled machine. On a daily basis this machine grinds away to provide us with the learning that we need to succeed. Teachers and administration give us this chance, but it is the people working behind the scenes with little recognition that keep the machine running smoothly. This is why I am excited to bring a new column to The AdVerum: The Unsung Heroes of Collingwood School. The stories will feature faculty who may not always get recognition, but are always working hard to keep our school in great shape.
The inaugural featured unsung hero of Collingwood is Edwin Lorgonio, our school custodian. Edwin was born and raised in the Philippines, where he grew up with his loving parents and two sisters. As the eldest sibling, Edwin had much responsibility in the household. His wife works as a care giver in Burnaby, and his daughters also live in Canada, though it was very difficult for Edwin to move to Canada. Luckily, in 2010, Edwin finally gave in to the wishes of his family and moved to Vancouver.
His work in Canada was not originally as a custodian, but rather as a forklift operator in a furniture warehouse. Working in a furniture warehouse is a demanding job, with a lot of physical labour and lifting, but this could not compare to the work ethic of Edwin. It was not the demanding labour which unstrung Edwin’s job at the furniture warehouse, but rather a freak accident where boxes full of furniture landed on his head. Edwin was in rehabilitation for one year, and he decided that that was enough heavy lifting for one lifetime. After returning to complete health, his strong work ethic landed him a job at Vancouver International Airport. Here he was a custodian, but this is also where he heard about a new opportunity. One of his friends recommended that he looked into custodian services at Collingwood School, and just this past September he began work at our new campus.
Collingwood was appealing to Edwin because it is a job that required no heavy lifting, but allowed him to demonstrate his strong work ethic. His favourite time of day is when the students are in classes, because it gives him peace and quiet to clean and maintain the school. What makes Collingwood so special for Edwin is that he loves his colleagues. Edwin especially mentioned the people at Ludwigs’, who are very kind in their own right, and have formed friendships with Edwin in his short time here.
Edwin is an unsung hero of Collingwood because of all the work he does that we often take for granted. When we leave the cafeteria at break, we expect it to be spotless by the time lunch comes around. And these expectations are met, often without our help. We look around and see a beautiful school, often forgetting that there are people like Edwin who are working on the hour to make sure this is so.
Edwin believes that the hardest part of his job is picking up garbage left on the ground, because the accident has given him chronic back pain, which makes picking garbage up difficult. Despite this, one thing that was evident with Edwin is how much he loves his job. He told me that it didn’t matter if you were the CEO of a large company, if you were unhappy it was not the job for you. Edwin loves the school, students, and colleagues at Collingwood, and he enjoys every minute of his work. If Edwin can teach us all one thing it is that you should love being where you are, because happiness trumps everything.