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Remembering 20 years of students, Llewellyn secretary retires

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - After twenty years, Llewellyn Elementary School Secretary Jean Cheney will soon leave the job she says shes loved. When the evening of June 30 rolls around, Jean Cheney will tidy up the office at Llewellyn Elementary School for the last time.

“I've always been ‘Jean’ to students and parents. It seems more like family this way.” Cheney told THE BEE after the school day ended on April 9. “I’m going to be leaving the school, after 20 years in this building.”

The school’s secretary added, “I’ve seen a lot of kids and parents come and go. It’s been a great job to have.”

Before coming to Llewellyn, Cheney said, she worked with a program at Lent School, helping second and third graders with “a little shot of extra learning” needed to help them meet the reading benchmarks

When she learned that Fern Waltz was retiring as Llewellyn’s secretary, after 23 years in the school’s front office, Cheney applied for the position.

She’s seen more than one generation at the school, she said. The moms or dads of several of the school’s current students attended as students, when she first came to the job two decades ago.

“That makes it even more fun to watch these kids, as they grow. It’s interesting to see how many of their parents’ habits and personality traits their kids picked up.”

The only shift in education, from her vantage point, Cheney remarked, is today’s increased parental involvement.

“That’s good, and I think it’s very important, in this day and age. Especially with the economy the way it is, it’s nice that parents make the time to be part of their kids’ education. And, good parenting definitely helps students to do better in school.”

The community from which the school draws seems to Cheney more like a village than a section of a big city. “It’s wonderful that parents are very much more concerned about what’s going on here at school, and wanting to be involved.”

The very best part of her job, Cheney said, is, “Just watching the kids come and go, and feeling like you’ve got a handle on what’s happening in the school. It is very rewarding to watch the kids come in as quiet and shy little kindergartners. Then, by the time they leave, it’s like they run the place!”

Although not herself a teacher, Cheney has frequent interaction with Llewellyn students, she said. “Anytime they need to call home, they come in. And, we have lots of Band-Aids and sympathy, here in the office.”

Some students just stop in to say hello, she said. “It's just never a dull moment, never the same story twice. Some students have told me ‘big stories’. It’s just comical, some of the details that say, trying to explain about happenings in their life and their world.”

Asked what she’d like to say to parents with whom she’s worked at Llewellyn, Cheney thought for a moment. “Thank you for sharing your kids with me. It’s been fun; I have loved it!”