Saturday, November 8, 2014

See the Stars...Not the Mud

Post by Vera Betts: Vera has worked for the BCSD for 21 years. She currently serves as a secretary in the attendance office with her long time partner Joni B.

"Two inmates stare through prison bars. One sees mud, the other...stars."
             - Robert Stroud (Birdman of Alcatraz)   

Occasionally my husband will share this quote with me and our family. Sometimes we need to remind him, too. 

When Mr. Casas asked me to write something for his blog, I just wasn't sure what I could add that hasn't already been stated. Those who know me well, understand how difficult it is for me to express myself. Sometimes my tongue gets in front of my eye teeth and I can't see what I'm saying. But I told Mr. C that I'd give it a shot. So, here it goes...

I'm a proud, full-blooded Italian, wife, mother and grandmother. I carefully nurtured a son and three daughters, through the Bettendorf school system...and with much love I can proudly say they are all healthy, wise and productive citizens.

I started my career with the Bettendorf School System in 1993 as a Food Service Attendant. So I guess you can say I started out washing dishes. The next 10 years were dedicated to Project Ready (now The Edison Academy). I was patiently mentored by a group exceptionally talented teachers from three school districts and emotionally bonded with several of the students.  I've now been 12 years in the Attendance Office at Bettendorf High School. 

Perhaps, many of you can recall the physical and functional changes that have occurred since 2003. Back then the Attendance Office was pretty much a support office for the rest of the school. Visitors and students went to the main office first and were, then, referred to attendance for various reasons.

With the newly constructed offices, came a physical and mental metamorphosis, involving abrupt changes and urgent adaptations. Joni, my co-worker, and I have now become the "Gate Keepers" for our hallowed institution. Buzzing folks through our doors, answering busy phones, retrieving voice messages, assisting visitors and granting passes seems a daunting task at times. At the same time, these new duties and challenges are exhilarating. On the up-side, we get to meet and greet (briefly sometimes) just about everyone who enters the building. Fortunately, working with administrators who understand, provide a nurturing environment and motivationally empower us to do our best during the transition.

I know that, unfortunately, some folks show up and pass through our gates seeing mud instead of stars. We "Gate Keepers" have a mission to help those few see a star now and then. That's why I keep a bowl of mints on my counter. I choose to think that mints can do more than relieve a students oral halitosis. Perhaps, in a small way, it can relieve that pesky mental halitosis, too. Who knows for sure...and why not? To keep up with demand, I've had to resort to the JUMBO BAG.

Well, welcome to the Attendance Office.  Stop by and say hi to Joni and me. Grab a mint, too!

1 comment:

  1. Having been through your office last week with my Texas crew, I can say that you and Joni were the first people I met at BHS. Both of you were quite pleasant "gate keepers," and I truly believe that the first interactions are the most lasting. I like the term "guardians of the universe" instead of gate keepers because you protect and defend with honor and a smile. You ladies are fantastic, and it was nice to see you every morning as I made my way into "the office". You and Joni keep holding down the fort, and thanks for the mints! Sanee Bell