Ron Mailloux, a custodian at Carihi has always felt a sense of home in the building, having graduated and worked inside it for almost 20 years. Photo by Braden Majic.

Carihi custodian nears 30-year milestone with the school district

  • May. 3, 2018 3:30 p.m.

Braden Majic

Carihi Mirror

Students and staff see him in the halls and on the grounds every day but many of them likely do not know too much about Ron Mailloux.

The custodian and storyteller extraordinaire enjoys his job, which is largely because of the building he works in and the history inside of it.

“It’s also like going back home because this is where I went to school,” he said calling Carihi the best building in town.

He has worked at Carihi during three different periods over his time with the school district, most recently from May 2013 to present time.

He will celebrate 30 years of working with the district this upcoming January.

Mailloux was born in Mission, B.C., he and his family of eight siblings had visited Campbell River a few times. They fell in love with the town because of its location and serenity, so they decided to move in 1976.

“We got out of that part of Fraser Valley before it really got crazy traffic-wise,” he said.

In his own family now, he has a 22-year-old daughter who lives in Comox. She is autistic and is the light in his life.

“When I went to school there was no integration for anybody that had a special need,” he said. “Now that’s changed for the better.”

Today, he is happy to witness the act of integrating children with special needs, especially at Carihi with the Skills For Life program.

“They are so engaged in everything they do… generally it’s a great place for everybody,” he said.

Mailloux is a Carihi alumnus having graduated in the ’70s, back when the building was much different and served a large, alternating student body.

This was when students had to take shifts depending on their grade at Carihi because of Campbell River Junior Secondary’s (the building before Phoenix) destructive fire.

“You had to share a locker. It was a lot different then,” he said while pointing around the school at wings and classrooms that did not used to be there.

“It’s been seismically upgraded and painted a few times, but it’s just a different time,” Mailloux said.

Although the building of Carihi hasn’t changed all that drastically, he has observed a change in the student body.

“Kids today are a lot more tolerant, a lot more accepting for the most part,” he said. “When I went to school here sometimes if you didn’t wear what was in style, or you wore a hat you’d get it knocked off.”

How else has time changed? Well years ago, it would be embarrassing to be dropped off at school by parents.

“Nobody’s parents dropped them off,” Mailloux said, recalling that he walked until his brother could drive.

There are also areas like the woodwork and automotive shops that have improved, as well as the implementation of new, more modern equipment throughout the building.

“Everything’s gotten better as time has gone by, technology-wise,” he said.

In Mailloux’s job, he has seen many things by walking the hallways, but one thing that has stood out to him the most: hairstyles.

“In all the years I’ve worked with the school district, hairstyles have come and gone.” He has seen them long, short, jagged, gelled, as mullets, coloured, or whatever anyone wants it to look like.

Nowadays, he noticed that many people can dress how they want and express themselves without worrying about fitting in with trends or expectations like in his time.

Mailloux also remembers having four one-hour classes per day from 7:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

“I had excellent attendance… you couldn’t skip out, because if you missed something, you’re behind the eight ball quite a bit,” he said.

Now, what do most people not know about Mr. Mailloux? Well besides him living day by day and enjoying all the natural wonders Campbell River has to offer…

“Most people don’t know I have a twin brother,” he said. “I am (older) by an hour and 20 minutes.”

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