Unseen People: Campus Supervisor Mr. Ross


When I was hired as Campus Supervisor, there was never a list of jobs in my job description; it was all just verbally described to me. I just looked at it like a yard duty teacher for high school, but over time, I kind of developed a philosophy that my job is to help students go through their day as smoothly as possible. 

I want to give Michele Hartmangruber (who’s the book lady this year) full credit for this stuff behind me in the cupboards in Room 27. She calls it the pantry and it is all stuff to help you guys. Maybe you don’t realize it, like I once didn’t, I always thought of Fremont as a fairly affluent city, but our school has kids that don’t have enough food. I’ve heard stories about bad family life that, frankly, break my heart. So here in Room 27, we have everything from canned food and other meals, to clothes that are either brand new or laundered. We’ve had kids come because they don’t have a change of clothes and wear the same clothes every single day; so just for whatever reason, you might need something to get you through the day. We also have toiletries, deodorants, shampoos, etc. We also have all our tools so if I need to cut a lock or anything like that. We got hotspots, which were for people that didn’t have Internet. A lot of this stuff was donated by parents last year. We have binders, dividers, pouches, pencils, pens, basic markers, and other stationery as well. This is all stuff designed to help you guys. All you’ve got to do is come and ask for help and I’m going to try and do my best to hook you up. Again, this is all Michele Hartmangruber’s work so she gets all the credit for this. 

We also have Lost and Found! For example, this girl just came in since she lost her black Beats headphones. She’s gonna want those back so I have kids fill out the form. We haven’t gotten any headphones back yet but sometimes it takes two or three days for it to find its way here. But now that I know her name and her student ID number, once it comes I can find her and give it to her.

I call the kids that will talk to me my Two Percenters. Because more than 90% of the kids here want nothing to do with me. And don’t get me wrong, if I was 16 years old, I wouldn’t want to talk to myself either. So my feelings aren’t hurt, but the ones that come up and say, “Hey, Mr. Ross, how’s your day going?” or “What are you doing this weekend?” or this or that, I just love it, it makes my day! 

I worked in the corporate world for 32 years and retired five years ago. I didn’t even know this job existed until my wife found out about it. She mentioned to my son’s friend’s mom “My husband’s retiring but he’s too young to retire so I need to get him a job,” my wife didn’t want me sitting at home. So the friend’s mom said I should apply for this job, so as my wife told me, I’m thinking ‘I could do that!’ I like working with kids, especially this age group in high school instead of middle school since you guys are a little bit more calm. So I applied, I got the job and then I got hired here permanently after about a year or a year and a half.

I used to work in the corporate world for Anheuser-Busch, like the Budweiser beer company. Over the course of 30 years, I did everything in the company: I drove a truck, I worked as a merchandiser, I worked in sales, I worked special events.  Everything from Raiders’ games to the county fair to car shows, basically any event that had beer there, I worked by setting stuff up and tearing down. And like I said, I got this job almost by accident.

When I was in Anheuser-Busch, especially as a younger person too, you’re always like, how do I get a raise or how do I get a promotion? Do I kiss my boss’ ass? All that stuff, it’s so much politics and it’s all a game, you know? So now I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need a raise, I don’t need a promotion, I just need something to do when I wake up in the morning. I live about a mile from here. I have the same schedule as a teacher. So I have summers off, two weeks for Christmas, it’s beautiful! I’m still young enough to travel, my kids are still in college, but they’re almost out and I can’t wait for them to go out in the world. My house is almost paid off, and I don’t have a lot of bills. So I’m in a good place, and more times than not I’m in a good mood because I’m not stressed over work or it’s not like my wife is yelling at me or my boss is yelling at me. The administrators here are great. When I worked in sales at Anheuser-Busch, I would go to meetings and they would have the sales numbers up from the month before and they would say “Hey Ross, your sales are down 6.2%, what’s up?!” but they wouldn’t even be that nice about it: “Your numbers are down so you better get your ass in gear or you’re out of here. Every week it was like, you wanna go home and cry, you know? So now I don’t deal with any of that!

During passing periods, I’ll stand out in the hallway. The bell rings and boom! Within 10 seconds, there’s like a thousand kids walking by me with a thousand different conversations, laughing, screaming, yelling. It’s just the amount of energy I feel, it’s almost like a high. I wouldn’t be getting this if I was sitting at home on my couch watching ESPN, it’s great! And I’ll never say I’ve seen it all. Because as soon as I say “I’ve seen everything I’m gonna see in a high school,” something crazy happens that I can’t believe I just saw.