This week I was able to sit down and talk with two members of Baylor’s Housekeeping team. This team is frequently seen around campus but rarely heard. A large number of the workers arrive at Baylor by 6 a.m., or earlier, and are transported up the hill to begin their day. Two of these housekeeping members are Amanda McCanless and Shena House.
Both McCanless and House work as housekeeping technicians. McCanless grew up in Chattanooga, attended Sequatchie County High School, and began working for Baylor in 1998. This year marks 21 years working at Baylor.
House also grew up in Chattanooga and attended Chattanooga High School, which has now evolved into the Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts (CCA) and the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (CSAS). She first came to Baylor in 1989, alongside her mother, to apply for a job. The pair was hired on the same day and able to work together at Baylor until House’s mother passed away. This year will be 32 years since House first came to Baylor. This was also the first year that girls were allowed in the dormitories. From the integration of girls to the construction of the new Probasco Academic Center building, both ladies have seen Baylor evolve over the years—with this year being no different. From outside eating to virtual classes, the year has changed for everyone. They both agreed that the virus has changed their jobs some but not drastically. Now, the job just requires a lot more sanitizing and attention to detail. For example, House works in the library, and every time someone leaves an area, she has to wipe it down.
In contrast to the changes over the years, the two have also been able to grow closer to fellow staff, faculty members, and students. McCanless works in the dorms, specifically Riverfront. She shared with me that while working at Baylor over the years, she has been able to form a relationship with the girls in the dorm. Both agreed that their jobs have become their second home. “When you spend more time with your coworkers than your family, your coworkers become like family,” said McCanless,
As for their daily schedule, McCanless arrives at Baylor at 5:55 a.m. every morning and leaves by 2:30 p.m. House arrives by 6:20 a.m. and leaves by 3:30 p.m. Although they both do not have any children of their own, House raised four of her sister’s children on her own. She admits that the hardest part was the mornings. Balancing everyone’s schedules and getting everyone to school in the morning while being on time to work was challenging, but she made it work. The oldest is now 25 years old, and the youngest boy is 20 and serving in the military in Texas. The two plan to continue to work at Baylor, and helping to make it the place we know enjoy each day.