The Unseen Angel


When one thinks about who successfully powers life at St. Thomas, the Dean of Students, the Principal, the President and the Director of Student activities come to mind. And although these positions are extremely powerful and do play a large role in supporting the school as a whole there is an unseen group of people that literally keep St. Thomas from falling apart. You don’t always see them but they are there. They clean up your mess in the cafeteria and Mary Moody after lunch. They are the ones who set up school events like mass, Round Up Sunday, and admissions meetings. They are the physical muscles that set up Homecoming, the crawfish boil and keep St. Thomas cleaned for the rest of Houston to see. They are the STH Maintenance staff and they are led by one amazing man: Mr. Sergio Plata. 

Mr. Plata has been a veteran at St. Thomas for nearly two decades. Since then Mr. Plata has been a loyal servant leader and friend to the St. Thomas community. Mr. Plata works tirelessly around the clock to make sure that life at St. Thomas runs smoothly. He moved the Eagle inflatable into the gym for the Eagle Guard’s Pius pep rally. He set up the water obstacle course for the Round Up assembly. His men are responsible for cleaning the bathrooms every night. In the summer, Sergio’s crew and student volunteers clean the entire school from top-to-bottom and polish it so well the campus looks like a royal palace when students come back. “We could not function to the level of excellence we do without [Sergio’s] group,” says Dean of Students Mr. Takacs. 

In other words, Sergio is the beating heart that keeps St. Thomas running. There is a reason the Round Up currency has his face on it. He and his staff are some of the kindest, and most generous people in the Houston community who offer their service without question. They constantly pick up after the students no matter how much trash there is left behind or how badly the school has been graffitied or dirtied. Mr. Plata will offer his service for anyone and anywhere. When asked what gives him the most joy from working at St. Thomas, Sergio responded “the love for all the students and seeing everyone each morning.” He is that amazing. 

 Everyday after school, and between lunch periods, Mr. Plata and his men have the grueling job of cleaning up the school. The definition of insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing again-and-again whilst expecting a different outcome. It is fair to say that the STH student body is not always respectful to Mr. Plata through its actions. Mary Moody looks like a warzone after block lunch and the cafeteria becomes a food-fighting arena about 70% of the time. Although students have fun in both scenarios they do not think about who has to clean up the mess. That would be Mr. Plata and his staff. Students should be more considerate of Sergio and his boys when they fool around in the cafeteria. And Sergio doesn’t just help clean up the cafeteria. Mr. Plata and his crew set up Cemo Auditorium for each and every drama production Mr. Green displays and they clean up the aftermath. Whenever students drop food on the ground in Cemo, Mr. Plata is responsible for cleaning up that mess. The Fish Week festivities at the beginning of the year with the milk-chugging contest? Sergio and his boys had to clean all of that up. Mr. Plata and his crew are some of the nicest and most gentle people on campus and they should not be burdened with the task of working overtime to pick up the student body’s mess. 

It is time for students to positively acknowledge all the hard work Sergio has done and will continue to do for the St. Thomas community. Without Sergio and his crew, St. Thomas would be a chaotic mess according to student President Wyatt Green ‘22: “trash would be everywhere, student events would be delayed and less exciting, and the school community would be far less immersive.” Sergio and his men are integral to the success St. Thomas has as a campus and as an image. Whenever you see Sergio or one of his men on campus, take a moment out of your day to thank them for their hard work and service. But the best way to thank Sergio and his men is by cleaning up after your own mess and keeping St. Thomas clean to make life easier for Sergio and his group of angels. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you Mr. Plata, for everything you have done and will continue to do,” said Wyatt Green.