Making DePaul Prep Work: Mr. Santibanez and the Midway maintenance team


Riley Klich, Editor, Features and Profiles

Over a thousand people venture through DePaul Prep each day, but that is not something the condition of the building would ever lead you to guess. Whether it be the carpets always being clean to the walls always being spotless, the school is kept incredibly clean. This is thanks to the Midway maintenance staff and the countless hours they put into making sure the DePaul Prep building remains a sanitary and comfortable learning environment. Members of this staff put in some of the hardest work in the entire community and deserve endless recognition. 

The head of the maintenance staff is the building supervisor, Mr. Cristobal Santibanez, who has worked at DePaul Prep for two years. His role includes a diverse demand for tasks. “Checking over security, making schedules, making sure everyone is on time, and helping the custodian team and morning/night cleaners” are just examples of responsibilities Santibanez faces on a daily basis. 

However, members of the maintenance team’s days never look the same. “Everyday is completely different, but that is part of the job that I like,” Santibanez explains. When he gets to work, he must assess the team’s needs for the day, meaning he never knows what exactly will need to be done until the day arrives. 

Before beginning his current position at DePaul Prep, Santibanez worked in a completely different area. “I was working in a whole different industry before the pandemic hit. I was working in the hospitality and entertainment industry, and I decided to switch careers.”

Santibanez is the perfect example of how taking risks can lead to success. He explains how the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately led him to the position he holds and enjoys today. “I had no experience in the education industry.” 

A lot of the actions taken by Santibanez and the maintenance staff aren’t always recognized by the students and staff. Problems like getting locked out of rooms or the temperature being too cold aren’t often tasks associated with the maintenance staff, but Santibanez and his crew are not afraid to take charge in finding a solution. 

Something many members of the community don’t realize is the amount of time the maintenance staff spends organizing the school for its different events. “After school, we do all the setups for conferences and Masses. Sometimes we set up for classrooms, like the Black Box Theater and Corboy Hall.” A lot of times students come in during the morning and notice a new furniture set up. This is thanks to the effort of the custodian staff. 

“Even on the weekends, we come here to move furniture around. It’s better to do it when no one is here.” Not only do Santibanez and his staff work to set up furniture after school, but also on days the school has off. Without this hard work and dedication, many of the events the school’s furniture is used for wouldn’t be possible. 

Not only is Santibanez a successful employee, but he also spends lots of time partaking in cool hobbies outside of DePaul Prep. “I like watching movies when I have free time. My favorite genre is science fiction.” Apart from watching movies, Santibanez also enjoys grilling, going to concerts, and trying new recipes.

When Santibanez was asked if there is anything he’d like to share with the community, he said he loves when people ask questions. “Don’t be afraid to ask for something. I think that is key to getting more community!” So next time you have a question about DePaul Prep’s facilities, don’t be shy and ask a member of the maintenance team. 

The Midway maintenance crew is responsible for keeping DePaul Prep each day. (Riley Klich)

The work of Santibanez and his crew definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. When asked about the impact the maintenance crew has on their day and the DePaul Prep community, students and staff had a lot to share. 

Math teacher Mr.Sisto feels that the maintenance crew is a very valuable part of the school, especially during the pandemic. “They keep our building clean. They keep our space welcoming and inviting. They keep us all safe everyday.”

Science teacher, Ms.Kaminski, also feels that the maintenance staff has a positive effect. “The building would fall apart without them. They are the heart and soul of the building and help make sure that everything is easy for the rest of us.”

Not only does the maintenance staff have an effect on the rest of the staff, but students as well. Senior Kathleen Balcsik takes notice of the upbeat personalities of the crew. “Each day, whenever I’m walking around the halls, the maintenance staff has smiles on their faces and warm welcomes wherever I go in the building.” The positivity the crew brings to the building spreads to everyone they encounter. 

The importance of the Midway maintenance staff and Mr. Santibanez at DePaul Prep is something that cannot be doubted. The perseverance and impact the team has on the building is so valuable, the school could not run without it. So next time you’re walking through the halls and see a member of this crew working hard to clean the space we share, take Mr. Santibanez’s advice to say hi or ask a question!