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The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

The Student News Site of Riviera Preparatory School

The Riviera Press

Janitorial Feature

Discover the stories of the incredible men and women who are the backbone of our school
Tira Halton

Our staff took the time to sit down with maintenance team members. They allow us to introduce ourselves to those who keep our school in perfect condition and demonstrate our appreciation for their work. However, two stories particularly touched our hearts: Soraima Ramos and Carlos Wendroff. Both have worked at Riviera’s prep campus since the beginning and set in motion the precedents for the school we know today. While they always seem to have a smile on their faces, many do not know the enormous strides and sacrifices they made to come to this country. 

Ramos’ Story:

Soraima Ramos is part of the maintenance staff that has been working at Riviera Preparatory School since it opened in 2011. (Tira Halton)

Ramos has woken up every morning for thirteen years to work a full day at our campus. She told us how her work ethic and drive come down to one goal: to keep everything “clean and immaculate.” English is her second language because she studied it once she moved to Miami. Her roots and fondest memories are in her “Patria,” Cuba.

It was clear Ramos had a passion for working with kids, which stemmed from her family. Everyone in her family was involved in medicine in one way or another; for example, her dad was a nurse. After studying pediatric nursing for four years, she got her nursing license and started working in a pediatric office in her province, Pinar del Rio. Specifically, she worked as an ICU nurse and first surgical helper nurse for all specialties. She told us, “I could do it all; every specialty; I was every surgeon’s go-to.” (Translated into English) For sixteen years, she happily worked in the operating room in Cuba. Sadly, it became more and more difficult for her to work in the 90s due to the downfall of the Cuban government, to the point where she had to flee the country.

Once she came to Miami, Ramos wanted to continue her life’s work. Her goal was to renew her nursing license, but she received some devastating news. If coming to a new country, leaving all her family behind, starting from scratch, and not speaking the language was not enough, she got diagnosed with cancer. Nonetheless, she mustered all the courage and bravery she had left to support her daughter as a single mother with cancer. Ramos shared with us the reason for starting to work at Riviera: “Ever since I got here, I started working in schools because I arrived by myself with my daughter, who was six and a half. It was my only means of supporting her.” 

Eventually, Ramos became a geriatric nurse through an immigrant help center called the “Professional Trained Center.” She keeps her job at Riviera because stability is important to her after all she has been through. She is an inspiring and fearless individual, and it was an honor speaking with her.

Wendroff’s Story:

Carlos Wendroff is a Peruvian electrician that is currently finishing up his 11th year at Riviera. (Tira Halton)

This August will be Carlos Wendroff’s 11th year working at Riviera. When asked about his specific role at the school, he said, “I work in all parts of the school: air conditioning, cleaning/cleaning the classrooms, checking if the lights are on, making sure everything is functioning, etc. I do everything.” Wendroff’s skills surpass his job description as he graduated as an industrial engineer. 

Wendroff was in the midst of the era of the start of technological inventions and the age of technology. He received this degree from the Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal, a public but prestigious university in Peru. He explained that applying to university in Peru is different from the States, “You have to position yourself to get in, which is extremely difficult. I had to not only take an exam but also create a thesis and present it to a panel. Millions of people were present, but they only had two to three thousand spots vacant.” He emphasized how long and nerve-wracking the whole process was. The thesis topic he presented was activated carbon, a material that is used, for instance, while barbecuing, and the thesis analyzed how using activated produces things more efficiently and with different functions.

After graduating, he worked in a company in the technical industry. If someone invented something and needed to patent it, his company would do it. There was nothing specific that his company focused on, but they usually worked on informal creations. He provided an example of something his company patented, “When I lived in Peru, there wasn’t air conditioning, so someone created appliances to make people’s lives easier.” However, in 1994, he decided to move to the United States in the interest of his children’s future, similar to Ramos. He told us how much he misses everything from Peru, especially the food and family he still has. Most of his family lives in Miami, but his mom and sister are back in Peru. The most important thing to him is his children and grandchildren, whom he got to watch grow up in Miami. 

When Wendroff arrived in Miami, he attempted to continue his career, but it was challenging because of his kids’ age (eight and nine years old). He and his wife were required to work day and night to provide for their family. Wendroff enrolled himself in Miami Dade College to learn English, but they were night classes from 8 to 10 p.m. Every morning, he would wake up at four and come home to study, but he told us he would end up falling asleep. He claims that if he had not worked so hard for his job, he would have had more time to learn, but unfortunately, that was not an option because he needed to provide for his family.

Wendroff ended the interview by explaining that he hoped the students would trust him and always come to him if they needed anything. “It will never bother me when a student comes up to me. I will drop anything for them,” he stressed. 

Riviera students are irrefutably lucky to be surrounded by such love and support. Our maintenance staff are always there for us and do much work that sometimes goes unnoticed. So, the next time a student sees Ramos, Wendroff, or any maintenance staff around the school, they should say hello and thank them for all their hard work. 

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About the Contributors
Sofia Bordas
Sofia Bordas, Marketing Editor
Sofia Bordas is a sophomore at Riviera and this is her second year on staff. She serves as our Marketing Director and is also a staff writer. She loves playing sports, reading, and going to the beach in her free time. Sofia loves taking pictures for the Riviera Press Instagram so you often hear her say, “Everyone smile - I need a picture!”. 
Tira Halton
Tira Halton, Writer
Tira Halton is a junior and is a staff writer for the Riviera Press. This is her first year on staff and she is excited to chat with students from different grades at Riviera and get the inside scoop on events. When she is not reporting for the Press she is spending her free time playing soccer.
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