The Man with a Plan

Head Custodian Luis Antunes Preserves the Beauty of HHS


Luis Antunes 2020-2021 yearbook photo | provided by Hudson High Yearbook

Dylon Medeiros, Staff Writer

You walk into the building. The floor is spotless and dry, despite the fact it was raining the day before. As you walk to your class, you see your reflection in one of the lockers as light shines off of it. Once you’ve made it to your class, you find that the carpet is clean too, as are the desks and chairs. Who’s to thank for all this? Luis Antunes, and the rest of the custodial staff.

Antunes has been working as head custodian at Hudson High School for the past 23 years.

 “I manage the high school from custodial maintenance, HVAC, grounds, and respond to all requests from staff,” Antunes said when asked about his routine. 

A jack of all trades, Antunes works hard on HVAC, cleaning the snow on snow days, laying out doormats when it rains and making sure the floors of the school are clean. This school, built in 2004, looks pristine in condition. He speaks modestly about the ever-present checklists to maintain the physical plant of the high school.

The HVAC skills came in handy this past week when the five-day heatwave led to some crafty cooling solutions to cool down the building yesterday.

Working from morning until 11:00 p.m., the custodial staff is responsible for upkeep the entire school with jobs, such as cleaning up “graffiti, spills, roof leaks, noise complaints,” Antunes said. “Pretty much anything and everything that could go wrong in a building.” 

With the creation of the hybrid model, Antunes had to coordinate with staff to store all extra furniture, such as desks, recycle bins, bookcases, and filing cabinets in one of seven storage containers so that social distancing of six feet could be achieved. Once the state issued the full return to schools, approximately 80% of those desks had to be moved back into the building, many going to the cafeteria to expand the lunchroom.

On top of this organization, the District protocol to sanitize facilities continues daily and nightly with The Enozo3 cleaning solution. According to Superintendent Rodrigues Return to In-Person Learning guidelines, “We have established a sophisticated sanitization routine to ensure our facilities are safe and ready to support in-person learning.”

The District also invested in the Needle Point Bi-Polar Ionization Units for all buildings in conjunction with the high school’s HVAC system. This state-of-the-art enhancement to the air filtration system is 99.4% ffective eliminating COVID, MERSA, Norovirus, and other pathogens.

Yet Antunes is taking this all in stride. While the pandemic has presented its challenges, the difficulty of the job is “relatively the same,” according to Antunes. In fact, Antunes is “very confident” now that almost all students take part in in-person learning. “With all the precautions taken… it will be a success for students and staff.”

Antunes did not always work at HHS. For eight years, he worked as an EMT (Emergency Medical Tech) in Marlboro. For the past 45 years, Antunes has called the town of Hudson his home.

Aside from his job, Antunes has many personal interests. He enjoys “hiking mountains and long trails, nature walks, sports, and exercising.” He specifically enjoys going on jogs and lifting weights.

When he’s not at work, Luis Antunes conquers the highest peak in the Northeastern United States | courtesy of HPS “Creating Connections”

There are six other members of the custodial staff who work alongside Antunes. They are Joe Sousa, Juarez Machado, John Barbosa, Mike Barbosa. Maria Braga, Renata Janeiro, and Mike Langevin

There is no doubt that custodians have a large building and property to maintain, and they do so without interrupting learning. Antunes and the rest of the custodial staff have kept our school looking like new and a welcoming learning environment, despite being 16 years old. Antunes does not look at the work as  disheartening, when he said, “We approach all jobs with pride and dedication regardless of the size of the job.”