Locals 2020: Keeping it clean: The Dixie Hatfield Story
High school custodian Dixie Hatfield helps students and school for over 15 years
Even with more than 16 years on the job at Moffat County High School, Bulldog custodian Dixie Hatfield has never seen a year like this before because of the pandemic. She helps out in other ways at the high school, working as the faculty sponsor for the tech club, helping to put on plays and serves as the facilities use manager.
Hatfield arrives to work five days a week at 2 a.m. to clean from the previous day. One of the perks of having such early hours is that she has a short commute thanks to living only two blocks away. The early hours don’t bother her, she said.
“Throughout my life I have worked two or three jobs,” Hatfield said. “You just get up and do it knowing that you have people out there who need a clean building when they get there. To me it’s self-rewarding. Us custodians, we do appreciate what we do. You can clean and look back and say, ‘good, my area is clean, or “‘I know I’ve done a good job.’”
“I start cleaning the gym. That is my part, and the lunchroom. That was pretty normal. You do your daily cleaning. But from then to now it is like you are cleaning twice; deep cleaning, sanitizing with the right things. Now we do a bunch of spraying. We go in, spray all the desks before school starts.”
As cases rise in Moffat County, Hatfield is on the front lines in the school system. The custodians go through a routine when somebody has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and a classroom needs to be cleaned. Hatfield says the routine is, “first we wipe things down and then we go in with the spray and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. When it is completely dry, the class can come back in. We spray the whole room so it’s pretty much germ-free.”
Hatfield works alongside two other custodians Blonnie Jacobsen and Shirley Stehle who come in while she is still at work. Those are not the only two who help clean the school and help make Hatfield’s job easier. In Hatfield’s job as the facilities use manager, she puts people on the schedule when they submit forms to use the building.
Outside of the classroom, Hatfield is very proud of her involvement with the student techs. Hatfield spoke about the process saying, “I have student techs that take care of the sound board and the lights and they put on the performances, they take care of it with the lighting and such. I make sure that we have that all set up and they are there ready for the event.” She was proud of the fact that she still knows some of the student techs from her first years working with them.
“The community always comes back and says, you have such nice kids there and they know what they are doing and we really appreciate that,” she said.
The process for a student to be a tech is a somewhat complicated one, with those interested, going through an interview process with her, the current students in the club and Principal Hepworth. The interview process is valuable for the already existing techs and those being interviewed according to Hatfield. She said, “It is interesting to see those kids interview the new kids and some of the techie questions they all ask them to see if they know what is going on and to see if they are really interested,”she said.“It kind of puts them in the spot but it makes my older techs say like “we are here and you are at the end we used to be on.”
All in all Dixie Hatfield understands the issues facing the community and says, “We try to keep things under control the best we can with what we have got.”
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For the first time in 18 months, the Moffat County High School auditorium will fill with music and singing from students, as the school performs MCHS’s musical, “Beauty and the Beast.”