Secretaries: the reindeer of Fairmont High School


Photo: Sammy Lowe

Jennifer Chapman, West Unit Secretary, works hard to keep things running smoothly in the office

Secretaries are like reindeer. Old Saint Nicholas wouldn’t get too far without them. Secretaries appear to be the mysterious, behind the scene workers that keep the place running as smoothly as possible without anyone knowing about it. It is no secret that the school wouldn’t get too far either without the commitment of the secretaries.

Several different tasks have to be dealt with in order to keep the school running and secretaries are highly responsible for these daily objectives. Many students and even staff don’t truly know what exactly goes into the job.

Melinda Taylor, Music Department Secretary, offered information on the tasks of a music secretary. “The basic day to day tasks really vary from day to day, hour to hour,” she said.

Taylor explains that she is in charge of doing the budget for the elementary, middle, and high school music departments. She works with their purchase orders and ticket sales.

“We have a humongous A Cappella festival coming up and that takes a lot of my time to get ready and prepare and get tickets,” Taylor said.

The Music Secretary’s job changes as the seasons change, Taylor explained. During the winter Taylor is preoccupied with the Holiday Concert for choir, band and orchestra. During the winter she is also in charge of inventory. She does inventory reports and cross-checks them. Inventory consists of instruments, cabinets, risers, among other things in the music departments.

“But basically in a roundabout way, I’m in charge of everything for the high school, middle school, and elementary schools for band, orchestra, and choir,” Taylor said.

There are several other secretaries spread out through the high school. Jennifer Chapman is the attendance secretary in West Unit and gives a glimpse as to what being an attendance secretary is like.

“Our main responsibilities are taking care of sick kids and attendance,” she said.

Chapman emphasized how important it was for secretaries to enter the attendance records into the computer system accurately.

“And the second portion of the job,” Chapman said, “is guidance work which is entering all the credits into the computer accurately.”

Chapman enters all grade changes that need to be done while also handling the transcripts of students transferring to Fairmont.

One thing all secretaries have in common is the juggling of the seemingly endless duties on a daily basis.

“Sometimes it gets a little crazy in here multitasking.” Taylor said. “Sometimes I’ll be on the phone, on the computer, I’ll have people coming into my office and everything will hit at once.”