Secretaries expand roles and responsibilities during COVID-19


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Secretaries help keep the school functioning throughout challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shuffling papers, taking attendance, making phone calls, scheduling meetings, sitting behind a desk. These are typically images that come up when we think of a secretary. However, the high schools’ secretaries say their job expands far from this stereotype.

The secretaries at the high school go beyond the expected role of a secretary by supporting and valuing students even though they do not teach them in a classroom setting. Having a different perspective, they can see many valuable aspects of the high school.

Sabrina McIntosh, Secretary for Class of 2021 & 2023, Mona Saltalalacchia, a secretary at Old Lincoln, and Kathy Keaveney, a main office secretary, all say that their goal is for students to succeed.

“Even though we do not teach students, we still care about them and want them to be successful,” McIntosh said.

“Giving a kid a little extra encouragement during the day is something that people don’t really know that we do. When kids come into the office, we try to take the stress off them a little bit,” Saltalalacchia said.

“Being a secretary isn’t just answering phones and emails all day long. Being a secretary at BHS is more about helping students,” Keaveney said.

Both McIntosh and Keaveney said that working at the high school is more rewarding than their previous jobs.

“Walking into the BHS Main Office every day beats walking into any other job I had hands down,” Keaveney said.

McIntosh said before coming to the High School she worked as an office assistant at the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Jamaica Plain.

“Working in a school full of kids is far more rewarding. I enjoy hearing the voices and the laughs of the students. Each September feels like a new beginning,” McIntosh said.

Saltalalacchia attended Pierce elementary school and was a student at the high school. She said that after changing perspectives and roles from a student to a secretary she realized there were a lot more opportunities for students than she thought.

Saltalalacchia said the high school is unique in its inclusiveness and diversity.

“No matter where your preference was, your friend group was, you still had so many friends in so many different places in schools. There are just so many different people from all walks of life,” Saltalalacchia said.

Keaveney said the high school prepares students by giving them access to more choices.

“Students are given a lot more freedom and choices here than in other schools. It offers a place for students to find their way. There are lots of opportunities for students, no matter what their interests are, be it academics, athletics, or clubs. The education you will get not only prepares you academically but for the real world,” Keaveney said.

Additionally, McIntosh said the high school actively tries to promote confidence in the students.

“The BHS community goes out of their way to make students feel empowered and to give them a voice. It is an excellent place for students to thrive and flourish,” McIntosh said.