Photo by Natalie Guske
At a school with close to 4,000 students, security is a necessity. Luckily, the team of security guards is constantly watching the hallways, ensuring the protection of students during all school hours.
Yavida Duarte, one of the security guards in charge of patrolling the main parts of the school, has worked here for about a year and a half. Though her job is not the easiest, she says that she wouldn’t change it for the world.
“What I do is I walk the hallways during class periods to make sure that I don’t see any kids wandering [and] that they’re not where they are not supposed to be,” Duarte said. “I check the girl’s restrooms. I assist the principals if they need help with a student. I [also] assist if there’s a student that forgot something in their car; I walk them out to the car and I bring them back in. I assist the ladies in the front with whatever they need [and] I help out with the Miller kids. We also have lunch duty as well.”
Duarte is aided by Malinda Jones, who is in charge of patrolling the 9th grade center. Jones is the security guard with the most experience, having worked at the school for over 11 years.
“My favorite part about my job is laughing and joking with the kids because they can be funny sometimes,” Jones said. “They keep me feeling younger – I’m old enough to be their grandma.”
Even though being a security guard can get a little tough at times, Duarte and Jones both have treasured memories from their jobs.
“[One year at] Christmas time, I was standing in the rotunda and then all these kids came up to me and gave me presents and cards to thank me for keeping them safe,” Duarte said. “It touched me.”
Like many of the teachers, Jones and Duarte have the students’ best interest in mind. They both enjoy interacting with the students and making meaningful connections with them.
“I want the kids to have goals,” Jones said. “When they go after something, finish it. Don’t just say ‘I don’t want to do this anymore.’ You got to think positive about things. If you talk to a lot of [students], everyone’s got a negative thought. If it’s not positive, I don’t want to hear it. If it’s negative, keep it to yourself.”
As with any job, the position of a security guard comes with its fair share of ups and downs. But even though things might get a little tough at times, Duarte and Jones both enjoy their jobs immensely.
“I would say that I really like Seven Lakes – all the kids, they’re really good kids – they just need to be reminded to wear their IDs!” Duarte said. “I love working here, I love the team here. Everything here is good.”