Speaking with School Support Staff

Julia Kim, Co-Editor-in-Chief

With so much of our school riding on the hard work of our custodians, I sat down and interviewed two of our founding custodians who had been here since the creation of our school: Leo Diego and Adrian Espinoza.


Q: What motivates you to work every day?

Leo Diego: “Well for us, we already worked for the Irvine school district, so it was more about coming to Portola, a new school, and being part of this big huge school. We’re very proud of that.”

Adrian Espinoza: “Well it’s a blessing to work here and especially for the Irvine Unified School District. It’s fun coming to work every morning; I appreciate the opportunity here, and I love it here.”

Q: What is your favorite memory and/or your best experience as part of the custodial staff?

Leo Diego: “Well definitely the first day of school when we first opened it for you guys to come over, but also watching the sports, the achievements in music, dance and all the accolades the students get that is recognizable everywhere. So we love that, and it’s special for us.”

Adrian Espinoza: “It’s just incredible how the transformation came in as when we first got in here and until to this day. We were here since construction was going on, and it’s beautiful how the campus went on.”

Q: What is the best part about being part of the staff that works behind the scenes?

Leo Diego: “We work with so many talented people here. The energy that everyone brings from teachers, staff, support staff, administrators – they’re all A+. I mean everyone’s just on their thing, and they all want to do good for the kids and learners. It all comes down to making sure you guys are successful.”

Adrian: “Like he said, it’s just the energy that everyone brings to the table here. Everyone’s so friendly here, and we try to get along with each other, helping each other out. It’s just fun working with them.”

Q: What is one fact about you that most students would not know?

Leo Diego: “We were here before anyone was ever here. We were the first ones ever – we had to get everything into the classrooms, with rocky roads, no cars. It was pretty tough but with a great group of guys. That was awesome that we got to be here when this school was being built. There’s always been challenges, but we always come here happy to tackle it.

Adrian Espinoza: “If you, the students, were able to see this place before it was a school, you wouldn’t have recognized this place. The classrooms were empty, no supplies – there was nothing here. And little by little, we started filling it in with things, and it’s amazing how with time, everything’s falling into place.”