Secretary prepares for retirement
Kathy Pine stops what she's doing to give an ice pack to a boy who was kicked at recess. In the school nurse's office, she gives kind words to a little girl who's suffering from poison ivy.
A few minutes later, she's taking lunch tickets in the cafeteria.
This is all part of a school secretary's day a day to which Pine, who has been a school secretary for 28 years, is accustomed.
But Pine is ready for a change.
At the end of this month, she will turn the work over to somebody else. And after that, she plans to spend more time with her husband, Marvin, tending to gardens and orchards on their 20-acre homestead north of Lawrence.
First-grade teacher Kathy Riddle said Pine will be missed.
"She's done so much here," Riddle said. "After 28 years I think everybody will be realizing how much she knows about the school. We'll probably be calling her to ask her questions."
Stephanie Hebert, school nurse for 10 years, grew up with Pine's daughter.
"I've known Kathy forever," Hebert said. "I will miss her, I'll miss her presence. She's just open and friendly, always herself, accepting of others, and cheerful we'll miss her smiling face."
Pine started work at the school in 1973 as a part-time secretary. The next year, she began working full time. The biggest change during the years has been the paperwork.
"It's not the routine of the school or the kids themselves," Pine said. "Basically, the biggest changes have been the requirements on the teachers and also, the state reports are more than they used to be, it's gotten to be a real big burden on teachers, officers and principals. It requires more record keeping. If we didn't have computers, we wouldn't be able to do it."
The Pines moved to Tonganoxie in 1967, when Marvin Pine accepted a job teaching physical education. He later became principal of the junior high. In 1996, he retired. They now live on Marvin Pine's family farm near Lawrence.
The best part about working in the school system, Pine said, has been being around the children.
"It's the kids, the kids always," she said. "You can be having a rotten day and then you get a smile or a big hug that makes all the difference."