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“This is my home”: Gabrielino’s security on students, safety

Maria Acosta (Bren Belmonte)

   Maria Acosta, who has been working at Gabrielino High School for 20 years, considers the school to be her home. She started working in food service as a lunch lady for 18 years but desired a role where she could interact with the students. When the full-time position as a security guard opened up, Acosta applied and has been fulfilling her role for the past two years. 

   Previously, Acosta attended school at Gabrielino when it was called Jefferson. Her kids also attended Gabrielino, and her niece was in the first graduating class. 

   “This is my home, I went to school here and I feel like I have a really good connection with all the students while making them feel safe and comfortable,” Acosta said.

   Acosta begins her day at 7 a.m. by setting up traffic cones to direct cars as students and staff begin entering school. To her, being a security guard is about working with the students, keeping them safe, and helping them feel comfortable.

   While going about her day and walking throughout campus, the most challenging part of Acosta’s job is getting all the students to class. 

   “For the most part all the kids are really good and they tend to listen to you, but there’s a handful that’s a little more challenging,” added Acosta. “The difficulty of my job is different from when I used to work in the Cafeteria.”

   For the last 18 years, Acosta worked in food services where her interaction with students was limited. She was considered the ‘cool lunch lady,’ and now working for security, she has gained more authority to direct the students to class or out of the restroom. 

   “I think the kids sometimes feel like we just want to be strict or make them angry but I am just trying to get the kids to focus more and encourage them to get to class,” Acosta added. “I let them know that they are capable of overcoming the bad days and they can get through the year.” 

   Acosta accomplishes her job with compassion by building connections with students and staff. When coming to work, she looks forward to students who welcome her with a smile or a hug. 

   “I love the kids and throughout the years, I begin to see them more like family and I truly do care about them.” Acosta shared. 

   The most rewarding part of Acosta’s job is the simple act of a hug, a ‘good morning’ when walking into school, or a Spider-Man sketch a student gifted to her. Acosta’s approach to her job as a security guard is to ensure that everyone feels safe, comfortable, and heard on campus. For the students to understand that she is someone they can trust, is a crucial part of her job. 

   “To me, I honestly love my job. I love the kids. I love the events that they hold on campus,” Acosta said sincerely.

Rebecca Lotz (Bren Belmonte)

   Though this is Rebecca Lotz’s first school year at Gabrielino, she executes her role with authority and positivity. Although she made a brief appearance during the last school year, she was contracted to help out the school with a different company. When a position to be a security guard at Gabrielino was available, Lotz applied and has been here since. 

   While working on campus, Lotz utilizes her skills of being able to identify behavior, enforce rules, and report students. This year, she made it a goal to remain calm in stressful situations with students when conflict is not going as intended. 

   “I’m slowly getting there so no matter how the situation plays out, I’m able to handle it and I know how to keep calm,” Lotz said assuredly. 

   Lotz finds the interactions with students, building connections, and watching campus activities as the most rewarding aspects of her job. In the coming years, Lotz hopes to grow more in her position and become a better security guard. 

   “I want to go back to school and receive my credentials to maybe move up in the school district as a teacher or counselor.” expressed Lotz 

   As Lotz fulfills her role on Gabrielino’s campus by enforcing rules and policies, she is lighthearted and enjoys the friendships she has built with students. 

   “A lot of the time I get sibling vibes – where you are all my younger brothers and sisters – and I am just babysitting you guys,” Lotz said admirably. 

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About the Contributors
Angelina Chung
Angelina Chung, Contributing Writer
Angelina Chung is a Guest Writer for the Tongva Times. Outside of writing, she enjoys Soulcycle, cafe-hopping, and traveling. Angelina's passion for English and story crafting led her to journalism, where she continues to explore and develop her writing skills.
Bren Belmonte
Bren Belmonte, Staff Writer
Bren Belmonte is a Photographer and Staff Writer with three years of experience on our newspaper team. Outside of journalism, Bren enjoys cosplaying, photographing friends, reading manga, watching anime, and listening to music. Bren chose the journalism class in sophomore year after encouragement from family members in the industry. Since then, they've recognized it as a future passion and career interest.
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