The men behind the golf carts: Jorge Sanchez, Travis Schollnick form close friendship as campus security


Angela Wong, Reporter

As the first bell of the school day rings, everyone has a different agenda: students zip up their backpacks as they head to their classes, while teachers start to decorate their whiteboards with notes. Others, like campus supervisors Travis Schollnick and Jorge Sanchez, start up their golf carts as they open a new workday.

Informally referred to by students and staff as Travis and Sanchez, the two help keep the school safe and make sure every student is behaving responsibly. Lighthearted but diligent workers, the men work from as early as 7:30 a.m. to as late as 4:00 p.m. Their hours run later when there are after-school activities like football games and dances on campus. Wearing black Gunn High School polo shirts and baseball caps, they continuously roam around the campus and parking lot throughout the school day on golf carts that speed up to 13 miles per hour.

This daily routine is nothing new for Sanchez; he’s been a campus supervisor for 12 years. Throughout his childhood in San Jose, golf carts were commonly utilized for transportation. He began learning how to properly drive and manage the carts in his middle school years, when he volunteered in the cafeteria serving lunch to students and staff.

The same goes for Schollnick, who has been at Gunn for almost three years; his experience with golf carts began his sophomore year of high school. At Valencia High School in Southern California, he joined the Student Executive Council in 2002 as a clerk in the school store. That same year, his principal, Dr. Paul Priesz, believed every student on the council should have the opportunity to obtain a golf cart license. And so, a few test drives later, Schollnick took advantage of that.

Both of them believe their love for creating a safe environment for students drove them to their current careers. Sanchez, for example, has worked at different high schools across the Bay Area, but still finds the ordinary day at Gunn incredibly special. “There’s almost always something exciting happening around Gunn,” he said. “This high school is amazing, and the students are so great that, even as adults, there’s something we can always learn from you guys.”

Schollnick agrees that the school is unique and tight-knit. “The community, the students, the staff—it’s just this one big family,” he said. “We all care for one another. Everyone’s here for each other, you know? That’s what makes working at Gunn so different.”

However, Schollnick’s high school experience at Valencia was less exciting than his current work at Gunn. As a “C” average freshman thrown into a new learning environment, Schollnick was unsure of who he was and what his aspirations were— that is, until he joined the council, where he would find his eventual best friends for the next three years, as well as the golf cart license that drove him to where he is today. Literally.

His experiences as both a student and a high school campus supervisor have shaped his perspective on how to maintain school safety. “School safety is a community effort,” he said. “Everyone has to do their part in creating a safe environment. If you see something, you have to say something. It’s our job as much as it is [students’].”

On the weekends, Schollnick works quick morning shifts as a general airport security guard at the San Jose International Airport. With a patrol vehicle and a bomb-detector dog, he travels around the airport to protect passengers and staff from harm, crimes and other threats.

Schollnick believes his interests in protection and communication are what led him to have two safety-oriented careers. “In both jobs, I have to deal with people and keep everyone safe. One job feeds off another, so what I learn here [at Gunn], I use there [in the airport],” he said. “However, I deal with both students and adults, so there is a level of change I have to do on my end on how I approach different situations.”

When he’s not on duty, students can find Schollnick perfecting his paintball accuracy, working out at the gym, playing a wide array of video games or chomping down some burgers at In-N-Out with Sanchez after work.

Sanchez prefers to relax over the weekend by spending time with his family and fishing by ocean shores and lakes a few times a month. He first began fishing with his grandparents on the weekends during grade school, and it has now become one of his favorite pastimes. “Fishing is a fun, stress-relieving activity,” he said. “We catch all kinds of fish in saltwater and lakewater and take them all home. I don’t fish in only one place. That’s the thing about California. Everything is driving distance away.”

While Sanchez can rely on his car to bring him to his favorite fishing spots, his golf cart is another story. As their only means of transportation around the campus, the carts are prone to many incidents every week; it’s common to find their carts broken down or with a few flat tires.

Chuckling, Sanchez jokes about his reputation for always rolling over stray nails near the construction sites on campus. “Travis is going to get mad at me,” he said. “I keep rolling over the nails every day, getting flat tires. I don’t have an eye for nails like Travis does. He can fix that, fortunately.”

As a team, the men have a close connection between them. On most days, the two can be found together in one golf cart, especially during lunch, when one quickly finishes their food while the other drives. After three years of working alongside each other, they revealed how amazing it has been to have each other as co-workers and friends.

For instance, despite the fact that Schollnick is relatively new to the school, Sanchez has already made quite the impression on him. “He’s a good guy whose heart is in the right place,” he said. “The guy knows what he’s doing, so I have a lot to live up to. It feels like I’ve known that guy forever even when I obviously haven’t.”

As campus supervisors, the students’ well-being is one of their top priorities. Thinking back to their high school years, Schollnick shares advice he wish he were told freshman year. “Learn to laugh with yourself,” he said. “People tend to take a lot of things at heart, but laugh it off and move on.”

Sanchez agrees on the importance of having fun in high school. “Have fun, be safe and be respectful,” he said. “We are here for you. Travis and I will support you in any way we can.”