High Schoolers not afraid to get their hands dirty to make some cold hard cash

Duncan MacKenzie | Staff Writer

It does not take Mike Rowe to know that high schoolers have some of the dirtiest jobs on the planet.

While the host of the popular TV show Dirty Jobs has witnessed countless unthinkable occupations, some students also find themselves scraping the bottom of the bucket, and toilet, for a few extra bucks. Senior Matthew Nesbit has been working at Bear Paddle Swim School for almost two years, and within those two years, he has experienced a few shocking moments.

“A kid puked in the pool and it was all over the place,” Nesbit said. “What we have to do is we have to sift it all out and get it into a confined area, so we have do all that and it’s nasty because you’re in it. You’re swimming in puke and there’s nothing you can do because you have to get it out of the pool to shock the pool.”

Many students find work across town at Kings Island – last year they received  more than  300 applications from Mason High School students alone. Jobs can range from ride operators to food service, but the employees assigned the task of cleaning restrooms are called park service employees. Senior TJ Hensley has been working in park services at Kings Island for about two and a half years, and said that while the job can be disgusting, his coworkers keep him coming back.

“One time I had two toilets overflow and I had to take care of that,” Hensley said. “That wasn’t too fun, but I think the job is worth it. I don’t like the job itself too much at times, but I really like the people I work with, so it makes it worthwhile. I actually do recommend it to my friends; a lot of them don’t take me up on the offer, but it’s not too bad at most times.”

While the average Kings Island ride operator makes Ohio minimum wage, $8.10 per hour, a beginner park services worker makes two dollars more than that. Junior Nate Devore said that this added bonus and the irregularity of vulgar deeds make the job valuable.

“You usually don’t have anything gross,” Devore said. “95 percent of the time, there’s nothing to do. Four percent of the time you’re doing some work. There’s that one percent where there’s diarrhea all over the walls.”

Senior Jake Parsons worked as a counselor at Camp Kern for 10 weeks over the summer. Parsons said that a camp counselor is an extremely versatile position, which requires him to frequently deal with the unconventionally gross.

“I got traditional nasty and I got you wouldn’t think it’s nasty but it is,” Parsons said. “One time it was 95 degrees outside and we were like, ‘Let’s make a Thanksgiving slip and slide.’ It was super disgusting. We filled up these nasty buckets that we found in a ditch and we put mashed potato mix in them. We piled that at the end of a tarp, and then we made gravy with the same instant gravy mix stuff in a bucket and splashed that on there. We had water balloons full of gravy too. If you slid into it, you’d be covered in it. There was a big pile of potatoes at the bottom, so you would hit that and you just ooze into it.”

As far as the conventionally gross, Parsons said that he dealt with a lot of sick campers.

“Then you’ve got your classic nasty, like kids puking up bits of hot dogs,” Parsons said. “One time the hot dogs that they ordered were really gross and my whole cabin of kids all puked. One kid goes, ‘Jake, my stomach hurts.’ I was like, ‘Alright, lie down man.’ Then he just gets up and looks at me and projectile vomits chunks of hot dogs. Then all the others saw him puke, so they started puking. In the course of 20 minutes, I’d say four of five kids puked.”

Senior Todd Borgerson worked at the Regal Deerfield Towne Center Stadium 16 for three months between his sophomore and junior years. The job involved scrubbing restrooms, cleaning theaters, and compacting trash – sometimes until one in the morning. Although he did not enjoy his job, Borgerson said that it forged a new respect for people with dirty jobs.

“You’re doing things that no one else wants to do and it’s something that I would never ever want to do again,” Borgerson said. “But you respect people who do those jobs because they are genuinely difficult and awful.”