Significance of our secretaries


Jack Rintoul

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill stating that Missouri public schools’ start date will not be earlier than 14 calendar days prior to the first Monday in September (Labor Day) in order to increase tourism.

Lydia Cohen, Writer

During the school week, the bell rings at 7:50 a.m., and for most people at KHS, this means a day of teaching or learning starts. But, in the main office, three women work with different tasks. Receptionist secretaries Lorie Nieman and Mary Dahlem manage student attendance along with greeting and guiding people coming into the office. Jackie Ravenscraft is busy at work managing principal Michael Havener’s schedule and generally assisting him.

“[The main office secretaries] are vital in helping [run KHS],” Havener said. “They are the eyes and the ears and knowledge behind everything that happens at this school. They help with everything. There is not one thing that they do not know or try to help with.”

The secretaries work together to tackle the items that teachers and other staff members may not have time to do. According to Dahlem, work at KHS would get done slower without their help.

“The teachers teach, the administrators take care of administrative duties, but the secretaries do all of [the] background items,” Ravenscraft said. “[We] make sure everything runs smoothly, make sure everybody has what they need, get things distributed to teachers when copies come in [and] when mail comes in. The administrators and the teachers would have to take on a lot of extra duties if the support staff was not here.”

Although the secretaries do not come into contact with everyone at KHS every day, their work shows its effect by how the day flows. According to Havener, the work done by the secretaries can determine a lot about the school day.

“I think we all function to keep the framework of the school [and] the structure of the school,” Dahlem said. “We all work in different ways to keep that working smoothly.”

Even though the secretaries spend most of their day inside the main office, that does not stop them from forming connections throughout the KHS community. The secretaries talk with different parents, staff and students each day.

“I love KHS, the people that I work with, the teachers are great [and] Dr. Havener is a wonderful boss to work for,”  Ravenscraft said. “ I think [my favorite part about my job] is the people.”

According to Dahlem, working at KHS has taught her various things, such as problem solving and teamwork. Nieman said that this job has helped her learn new things as well, especially the best way to interact with people.

“I learned that people are more responsive when I [smile] and want them to know that I am going to try and help them the best that I can,” Nieman said. “That carries over to anything you do. You just want to be kind, engaging and smiling. It seems to help settle people down that might be upset about stuff.”

Although each day is at the same school, no two days are alike, said Ravenscraft. Inside the days of the support staff at KHS, many different things can occur, whether that be a dog loose on campus or an overload of parents.

“When the bells are ringing, the phone is ringing, [and] you are [just] trying to get your job done, [but there is so much going on],” Nieman said. “There are certain days that are more chaotic [than others].”

No matter the chaos in their days, the secretaries said they would not change a thing about their job. Despite the daily challenges, Havener said that they should be recognized more frequently for their work at KHS.

“[They deserve recognition] because of how vital they are to everyone involved,” Havener said. “[Vital] isn’t even a strong enough word on how important they are.”