Elementary school secretary’s job required typing skills, compassion for students

 

By Bev Wieler - West Point News Reporter / For the first time in nearly 40 years, students walking into the office at West Point Elementary School didn’t see Mrs. Norton there to greet them.

Wahneeta Norton — “Mrs. Norton” to the more than 1,500 students who attended WPES during her employment — retired at the end of the 2012-2013 school year.

Wahneeta has a lot of fond memories of her 40 years at the school, 39 of them as the elementary principal’s secretary.

“I loved my work, and I loved the kids,” she said. “I miss the kids and the staff, but I am also enjoying my retirement.”

Wahneeta first began climbing the tall green staircase in the old West Point Public School building when she was hired as a teacher’s aide.  

“I worked with thirty-two students,” she said. “Half of the time I was with the sixth grade and the other half I worked with the special education program.”

Wahneeta was a teacher’s aide only one year. The next year she was asked to be the secretary for elementary principal Bill Roth. He was the first of 10 principals she worked with over the next 39 years.

“I was good to go with a typewriter and a tablet,” she said, recalling the days before computers.

Equipment changes over the years proved challenging at times, she said.She saw and worked with many types of copy machines.

“I started with a copier that used a gel product, then it was the duplicator with a hand crank, and electric duplicator with a paper counter,” Wahneeta said. “I could punch in the machine to make 32 copies and walk away.”

For the full story, pick up the January 15 West Point News, or call 372-2461 to subscribe.

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