One of the most valuable lessons I learned at Central High School was that it’s a good idea to be on the good side of the administrative staff. Those are the folks who have custody of your permanent record.
I’ve already run pictures of a wild side of Miss Helen Ketterer that most of us didn’t know existed.
Mrs Helen Moore retired in 1984
June 2, 1982 – She and other administrative, cafeteria and maintenance employees with more than 20 years of service honored. Mrs. Moore had served 24 years at that time.
June 13, 1984 – A story noted that Mrs. Moore, who was retiring, was recognized by the Mis-Sco-Deau Association of Educational Office Personnel.
April 17, 1985 – Two photos titled “Leisurely luncheon” and “Together again. One caption said, “A leisurely luncheon at Holiday Inn is a far cry from pulling lunchroom duty at the schools, as a number of career teachers who have retired from Central High School will tell you. Go here to see photos of Mary Carter, Mary Evelyn Lane, Betty Folsom, Cornelia Gockel, Mary O. Damitz, Vivian Kies, Lucille Adams, Alene Sadler, Norma Sander and Inez Smith in one shot.
Grace Williams, Alta Muegge, Dorothy Quarles Garner, Irene Wright, Carrie Finley Bolen, Katheryn Wulfers, Helen Moore, Ellen Towse, Laura Rixman and Martha Welman Dahringer are in the second. It’s amazing how much the women look the same as they did in the mid-60s (except more relaxed).
Administrative staffs get it done
I put my Central experiences to good use when I became a telecommunication manager. I bought the staff an espresso machine that was complicated enough to operate that it came with a training video. Terry was the designated operator who took his assignment serious enough that he’d pull out a thermometer to make sure everything was at the right temperature and he’d pre-chill the pitcher the milk was in.
A couple of times a week, we’d invite two or three folks from other departments to come up for coffee and gossip at the end of the day. Sometimes the group would include a department head or manager, but mostly it was admin assistants, office managers and supervisors.
To be invited was kind of special because you had to have an electronic swipe card to get into the telephone switch room, then you went through another set of doors to our combination storage room / break area. Only a handful of people in the company had access to it, so it was like being in the inner sanctum. We might have a call center supervisor from circulation, a guy from the AC/Electric department and someone from the newsroom, plus my staff. We’d trade office gossip and talk about stuff that was coming up. A lot of problems got solved and others headed off in those informal groupings.
It was a great way for departments who would normally never mix to get to know each other and open up lines of communication. And, trust me, these were the folks who REALLY got the stuff done; it’s not the department heads. I can say that because I WAS a department head.
So, academics aside, I learned something from the Central High School office staff that was more important than a lot of the dull facts I memorized in the classroom.