Campus supervisor acts as mentor to students

Max Josef

“He is a mentor. You can go to him and ask him for help even when you aren’t in school,” said senior Andreas Marroquin.  “He can make a bond that can last throughout high school and continue outside of school.”

Marroquin is referring to campus assistant Robert Roman, who has worked at Redwood for the past few years and connects with students daily. All joking and talking aside, Roman’s job comes with security duties around the school, usually in the front lot, back lot or CEA.

“[Roman] has given me a lot of good advice. He is a really fun guy to talk to. From the time I first met him, we have been close,” Marroquin said. “He tells me not to skip class and is always there for me to talk to. He makes me feel safe.”

However, Roman’s time at Redwood may be drawing to a close, as he applied and interviewed for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s office, specifically to become a correctional deputy. He views leaving Redwood as a bittersweet possibility.

“If I do get the job, the thing I will miss most is the interactions with the kids. Usually jobs at schools are sitting behind a desk, while my job is to go out and interact with the kids, just basically being their friend,” Roman said. “I help with anything I can.”

Campus Assistant Robert Roman looks over the back parking lot
Campus Assistant Robert Roman looks over the back parking lot

According to fellow campus assistant Jose Rico, Roman has been pursuing a job in law enforcement for a while.

“[Roman] has been in the police academy and he has been a San Rafael reserve before, but the right opportunity hasn’t been there yet,” Rico said. “When this opened up, he was taken aback because he didn’t pursue it as aggressively since this is a really fun job and we both love it here, but at the same time, we want to take the next step and have a larger impact than just the students at Redwood.”

Rico is confident that Roman will thrive in the event he gets the job in Sonoma.

“Robert definitely wouldn’t have to change. In fact, in corrections, you actually have to be a people person. You can’t just be like ‘I’m the man.’ At the end of the day, those people are still people. They have made mistakes but they are still people and you need to respect them,” Rico said. “Anybody can be there so you have to be empathetic to the inmates.”

Roman and Rico have been working together for 12 years at several different places of employment, and Rico had large praise for Roman’s ability to connect with people.

“[Roman] is a people-person. He is very caring. For example, he built relationships with kids on the football team, so once they started playing, he wanted to work all the games. It is very rewarding for him to have people care about him as much as he cares about them,” Rico said.

Roman credits his friendship with Rico as what motivated him to apply and eventually be hired at Redwood.

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“We have been working together for a while. We have known each other for a while. He has basically been the one to get me jobs after he gets one at the same place,” Roman said.

Roman has worked as a security guard at a variety of places including malls and security companies, but Redwood has a special place in his heart.

“I’ve been doing security my entire life. I’ve worked in the private sector and in law enforcement so I felt like [Redwood] was a good match. I feel like I interact well with teenagers,” Roman said. “[The campus supervisors] are like the big brothers of the school. We take a lot of pride in that. I like a lot of these kids and it is really rewarding when they succeed.”

According to Roman, students come to the campus assistants first when they have a problem because the students look up to them and see them as people who have been in their position before.

Being a big brother, however, does not come without having to deal with the bad things that happen at school.

“If we have relationships with students, we can get them the help they need because we know them,” Rico said. “We are the support system. We support admin and the students. That is why we are campus assistants and not campus security. Because we are here to support everyone.”