It’s an unlikely team.
Matthew Haste likes the Washington Redskins. Darrin Hawes is a lifelong Dallas Cowboys fan.
Come Monday morning, however, the two custodians are focused on the same goal – supporting Arrowhead Elementary School students and staff.
“I want to say it’s almost like a father-son relationship, but it’s more like brothers,” said Arrowhead Principal Ben Gillikin. “They really just feed off each other.”
Haste, new to the Arrowhead custodial team this year, is eager to learn every aspect of the job and Hawes is a willing mentor.
“He’s really good,” Haste said of Hawes, Arrowhead’s head day custodian. “He’s taught me a lot. Lots of useful tricks.”
The respect is mutual.
“Matthew is a cool young man,” said Hawes. “I like his attention to detail and he’s a sponge. He’s soaking up everything that I show him, like the little tricks of the trade somebody showed me. I tell him there’s an easier way, a more efficient way and he’s just soaking it up.”
All of the knowledge Haste is taking in will help him fulfill his career goal.
“I want to be a head custodian,” he said.
Hawes is supportive, having been in Haste’s shoes one himself.
“There was a guy who helped me out,” said Haste. “You have to spread the knowledge. I’ll always give Matthew all the knowledge I’ve got.”
Gillikin appreciates the mentoring role Hawes has embraced and the acceptance shown for the newest member of the team by all Arrowhead custodians.
Not that he’s surprised.
“We have an incredible custodial staff. They’re all just so nice” Gillikin said.
“Matthew works the swing shift, so he’s here at night, too,” continued Gillikin. “And this night crew has been together a long time. He really has fit right in with him. You see them joking around with each other. But they’re also very serious about their job. He’s had to step up to their expectations.”
No problem for the aspiring head custodian. He has a great mentor in Hawes and an even better attitude.
“It is just a great environment to be in,” said Haste, who likes seeing students and staff during the school day hours of his shift.
Hawes agrees, noting that custodians were less visible in his previous job in South Carolina.
“Here, you get to interact with the kids and they say some of the darndest things. It makes my day,” he noted. “I definitely like the staff and the kids. It’s rewarding.”
What’s also rewarding to Hawes is the good-natured ribbing that comes with any football rivalry.
“Matthew, you have to say, ‘Go, Cowboys,’” Hawes said when the pair was asked to stand together for a photo.
“No, no,” protested Haste.
“If you don’t say, ‘Go, Cowboys,’ I’m going to put these up behind your head,” said Hawes reaching out with two fingers as bunny ears.
Haste continued to protest but couldn’t stop himself from laughing.
“Come on, man,” said Hawes with a smile. “Go, Cowboys.”
“No,” Haste said. “Go, Redskins!”Tell your friends! Follow us!