The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

The Student News Site of Shorewood High School

Shorewood Ripples

Get to know two Shorewood High School custodians

Emily Beck: Custodian Two

Emily Beck, SHS custodian, has always lived her life putting people first, for she consistently puts immense care into everything she does.

On top of cleaning the Library Media Center and the entire first floor of the Administration building (as “Custodian Two”), Beck enjoys shoveling snow for her elderly neighbors, donating to local organizations and packing lunches for coworkers who may not have food prepared.

“Not only does [helping your community] feel good, but it is also our job as community members,” Beck said. “It’s what we’re here for. If we’re not helping others, then what are we doing?”

Beck moved to Shorewood after the passing of her mother, and she has worked in the school district since 2016. Initially working part-time at the high school, she transitioned to Lake Bluff in 2019 until a full-time position opened up at the high school in August of 2023

“Honestly, since I started here it has been a wonderful experience. Everyone is very mindful of how they operate,” Beck said. “I have little to no complaints on how students treat the space or how they leave the space– it’s usually already pretty clean when I come in.”

In her free time, Beck enjoys learning about science, geology and astronomy in particular.

“As a kid I would collect rocks. I had a whole pile of rocks in my room…when I saw one that drew my attention I would always take it home,” Beck said. “My favorite is probably banded agates. Once you crack it open or it grows out, it becomes an orange color with white and black spirals, which is absolutely beautiful.”

On top of physical science, she also enjoys science fiction movies.

“I enjoy how science fiction usually has accurate physics,” Beck said. “Star Wars is cool, but it’s just not very down to earth– pun intended. Though I love seeing how it could work if we were to have space travel, which is very riveting to me.”

Throughout all of her interests, Beck notes an underlying pattern.

“I love learning,” Beck said. “I am constantly just consuming anything and everything to learn.”

Beck believes that she has found a home within the Shorewood community, and she is proud of her surroundings.

“I come from a very small town in Pennsylvania, and our school system was nothing like this. This is luxurious in comparison,” Beck said. “Of course we would have our fundraisers and whatnot, but when I see you guys throw a fundraiser, you guys really throw a fundraiser.”

According to Beck, her experience with fellow staff and students has been nothing but positive. 

“The students are very cordial and the staff and the teachers are all wonderful. It is great not having any friction or competing personalities on the staff… I love getting along with all of my coworkers,” Beck said. “It’s wonderful, literally wonderful.”


Drew Michels: Custodian One

Drew Michels, a supervising custodian at SHS, has become a familiar and friendly face within the district. For the past fifteen years, he jumped between different positions in the field until ultimately landing his current title as “Custodian One.” This role places him in charge of not only general tasks, such as sweeping and wiping, but also maintenance work, like plumbing, and shoveling.  

Aside from his usual plethora of tasks, Michels mentions a common occurrence of more unusual ones. Often, he faces unexpected problems. 

“That’s one thing about this job: you don’t know what you’re going to get from one day to the next,” Michels said. “[I] don’t always walk into a fire alarm going off, I don’t walk into [work] trying to find vacuum cleaner parts, or having an elevator that doesn’t work.”

Once the school empties out each day, it becomes the responsibility of Michels and his team to fix these problems.  

“My shift starts at three but I’m kind of always here by two [as] I don’t want any surprises,” Michels said. “I make sure we’re exactly where we need to be and [at] what we need to be at.”

Regardless, Michels doesn’t have too large a complaint about the surprises that accompany his work. He stresses the support he receives from his team as key, referencing how they collectively work together to solve each problem.  

“I have great employees [and] I could not do this job without them,” Michels said. “They’re probably the most fantastic [people] you’ll ever meet.”     

Michel’s position requires him to collaborate with all kinds of individuals outside of his team. One of his essential responsibilities is to keep track of everything going on in the buildings, which requires interaction with teachers, coordinators, students, and participants in recreational activities.

This collaborative aspect of Michels’s job aligns with a lot of his values. 

“I love helping people. I really love helping people, whether it’s here at work, at church, at home, or with brothers and sisters,” Michels said.

Additionally, Michels enjoys the animated manner of his work, which helps him feel comfortable in his occupation. 

“I like working with my hands, [and] I always try to keep busy,” Michels said. “[At work] I’m constantly moving.”

Outside of work, Michels experiments with all kinds of hands-on activities, whether that is wood-working or polishing up skills he learned at school or work. 

“When I retire, [I’m] gonna be making keepsake boxes, jewelry boxes, and cutting boards,” Michels said.

Michels expressed a love for learning, encouraging others to do so as well.

“Always keep learning because you never ever stop,” Michels said. “There’s something in woodworking, there’s something in pastry classes, there’s sewing, making outfits, that kind of stuff.”

Michels mentioned opportunities in many fields, with the stated hope that students consider their many options. He hopes to reinspire interest in his profession and similar ones.

“A lot of times those building trades kind of get ignored, but there is an especially high number of positions they want to fill,” Michels said. “It’s a great place to start if you’re looking to find a career path.”