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The Backbone of the Schools

By Staff | Aug 28, 2015

Long-standing bus driver Janelle Lemar, of Orrin.

Days are getting shorter and the temperature is dropping, which can only mean one thing: summer is ending and school is about to begin. If you have children who are in school, this time of year might be a little bit of a celebration. If you are in school, this time of year usually comes with sadness that summer is over but excitement to see your friends and classmates.

When most of us think about school, the first thing we think about is usually a favorite teacher, prior classmates, or maybe even the Principal. While those are all very important aspects of school, another aspect that is just as important, yet constantly overlooked, is the staff who keep the school running: The custodians who keep the buildings spotless, the office staff who make sure that the school runs efficiently, the cafeteria workers who keep the children and staff alike fed and the bus drivers who get the kids to school safely, no matter the weather conditions. These hard working people are the real backbone of a school and we wanted you to know a little more about them.

Marilyn Yoder worked in the Rugby High School office as part of the office co-op class during her senior year, becoming a full time employee for the district in March of 1983. What most don’t know is Secretary is a full-time, year-round position. So while the students are sitting around a pool and teachers are taking a vacation, Yoder is working away. Even though she’s been at it for 32 years, she plans to continue working for the Rugby School System for as long as she can. One piece of advice she would give to parents is “Parents just need to remember back to when they were in school. There are ups and downs but you will get through them. Just show patience, love and understanding. Enjoy each moment, as the time goes by so quickly.”

Brad Cichos is another integral part of the Rugby School System. He has been a Custodian for the past six years, and like Yoder, He also works full-time and year-round. He says he really enjoys working around the year, and he plans to continue working for the school as long as he can. As you can imagine, he has seen a lot during his tenure at the high school, including plenty of scary moments. He says the scariest moment also happens to be the funniest moment that he can remember. During a game at the school the fire alarm went off, sending players and spectators into a scramble. While initially worried about the safety of those inside the gymnasium, he eventually found the source of the fire: someone had burned the popcorn!

Another day-to-day function that is often overlooked is transportation. Janelle Lemar has been driving the school bus for Rugby Public Schools for over 35 years, long enough that children she drove years ago now have children of their own that she picks up every morning! As you could imagine, driving a school bus can have its challenges as well as its rewards. According to Lemar, the most nerve-wracking aspect of driving the bus is the weather. As we all know, North Dakota winters are not for the faint of heart. Most of us get nervous, even if we are driving in a pickup that has four wheel drive, so just imagine driving a school bus with dozens of children inside. One of the things that always makes her laugh is when she picks up a child and their pet decides to jump aboard as well! She has seen plenty of dogs, and even some goats get on her bus – which gives everyone a laugh and makes her remember the old nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.

So remember these hardworking professionals who do their job not for the glory, but for the love of the school and the children with all that it entails. The next time you are watching a play, or cheering on your sport’s team, take a minute and be thankful for these behind the scene workers because along with the teachers and administration none if it would be possible if it wasn’t for the dedication they all have to your children and their school.

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