By ELAINE ZHOU
UHS custodian Rudy Lopez will be retiring at the end of the school year after working at UHS for almost seven years. Rudy was named Staff Member of the Week on the week of March 3rd by the student body to honor his dedication to UHS before he retires.
Over the years, he has looked after UHS and its students with the best care. Through his actions and words, he has made quite a name for himself as a caring, positive role model for students. Despite the sleep-deprived, stressed teenagers that are UHS students, Rudy always manages to find a way to cheer students up.
“Rudy is so positive and always puts a smile on your face,” junior Nadia Hedayati said. “He’s so kind and funny and always makes sure the students are happy, and I think everyone at Uni is going to miss him.”
Rudy has always been concerned with the welfare of UHS students and is regarded highly around the school. As his shift is later in the school day, students always see him with a smile on his face, driving around in his cart after school.
“I see him after school every day when I’m going home, and he always says ‘Take care, get home safe,’ and it honestly makes my day,” junior Shivani Elitem said. “I love him a lot.”
Rudy also goes the extra mile for his students, even with his busy work schedule.
“One time, we were setting up for a marching band competition at Uni, and we were trying to carry a bunch of water bottles and soda boxes back to the band room from the parking lot. He drove by and asked us to put the stuff on his cart so we wouldn’t have to carry it,” sophomore Mia Rubino said.
For many upperclassmen, Rudy has made an incredible impact on the students’ high school experiences since their freshman year. He sees the students as equals, friends he has made throughout his time at UHS.
“I got to know Rudy my freshman year and ever since then, seeing him has always brightened my day and made me smile! He always waves at me and says, ‘Hello, my friend!’ whenever I walk by, and asks me how I am and how things are going,” senior Katherine McPhie said. “I’m sure that everyone in future years will miss his cheerfulness and friendliness, but we wish him the best in his retirement and thank him for all that he has done for Uni!”
Seniors are fortunate that they have had the opportunity to talk to Rudy for four years.
“Whenever I see him he always asks me how I am doing and gives me a fist bump. No matter how hectic the day is, he never fails to put a smile on my face. He is one of the most genuine and caring people out there, and I really don’t know how the school will function without him,” senior Hikari Harrison said. “When we cross ways, he always shouts, ‘Hasta la vista,’ and we say ‘babyyy’ together, and it is something I will always remember when I look back on Uni.”
To those who have only spoken to him a few times, Rudy has made a memorable impression as well.
“I’ve said hi to Rudy a couple of times, and no matter how busy he is, he always makes sure to smile and wave hello,” sophomore Tacey Mathison said. “He genuinely cares about every individual on campus.”
When I interviewed Rudy, passing students would go out of their way to say “hi” to him. Rudy always smiled and asked how their day was going with a genuine interest in students’ lives. After being asked what he was going to miss about UHS, he gestured to the students who greeted him and said, “That’s what I’m going to miss.”
Rudy plans on working on his farm and traveling as much as he can after he retires. He wants to enjoy his time with his daughters and granddaughters. Before he leaves, Rudy’s parting advice to students is to stay in school.
“I don’t want to see you guys working like me in the trash,” Rudy said.
Rudy has done so much to keep our school a safe and clean environment, which some of us take for granted. If you ever see Rudy driving around, thank him for his work, and I suggest that you have a conversation with him. Even after only talking to him for a couple of minutes, I understood the impact Rudy has had on students. As I began to know more about him, I found that Rudy has this warm nature about him that makes him good company.
Rudy will always be a part of the UHS family and in our hearts as students. Many students will miss their conversations with him, but they will never forget the joyful, lovable personality of Rudy. He may miss his friends, students, and teachers, but UHS will miss him more. In the words of Rudy himself, “Hasta la vista.”