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Sound to Sea I News

Connie Francis prepares for goodbye after 31 years at MHS Chrissy Dooley Staff Writer “Where Atlantic’s Mighty waters…”. Each Friday during second period, the voice of the Manteo Alma Mater fills classrooms with pride. After 31 years at Manteo High School, the woman behind the Alma Mater, Connie Francis, is saying goodbye. Francis will officially retire July 1, 2018. Francis was originally hired as a teacher’s assistant in Dare County in January of 1987 but was only in that position for 6 months, after which, she traveled to all Dare County Schools as an EC Data Manager for one year. In 2000, she was placed at Manteo High School when the position of guidance secretary was first created. She was in that position for 11 years before being transferred to her current position, administrative assistant. “I was a little nervous transferring from guidance secretary to administrative assistant because it is a whole different job description, there wasn’t a lot of interaction with the students but it was fairly easy and I enjoyed it,” Francis said. Since 1989, Francis has been a member of the school’s Improvement Team, which is a committee composed of administrators, teachers, staff, and parents that meet monthly to discuss ways to improve the school in the best interest of the students. “I have been a member of this team for many years during which I have taken minutes, expressed ideas to the group, and each month I submit a schedule of upcoming events,” Francis said. She has worked closely with the PTO Board, meeting monthly with principal John Luciano and the MHS Teacher of the Year, taking minutes and keeping up the board apprised of upcoming events. She has also been a member of the Dare County Association of Educational Office Professionals and North Carolina Association of Educational Office Professionals for over 20 years. “This is a group of office professionals that meet regularly to learn from each other and for staff development, I have also been a local president and a

Lara Cate Wright

district officer numerous times,” she said. Francis spends her days involved in more than administrative affairs. Francis has been very active in supporting the students by attending sports games, academic ceremonies and other events. “I have lost count of how many sporting events and plays I have attended but, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it,” Francis said. What Francis does in her current position changes from day to day, but her primary responsibility is working alongside Luciano, doing whatever he needs her to do on a daily basis. Whether it is scheduling appointments with parents and staff members, typing correspondence, searching data, and many more tasks that come throughout the school day, Francis is on top of the workload and there to help. “Mrs. Francis has become a really close friend of mine, somebody who I can always bounce ideas off of and tell me what I need to hear, she keeps me grounded, her presence has always been a very calming influence,” Luciano said. “I can always count on her to take care of me and know my moods, she

has guided me to be much more patient and to not react as quickly as I would have in the past, she has given me a different view on life in the south that I would have never have without her, it is much more family oriented.” Interview, meetings, activities and other activities and responsibilities, Francis puts it in the master calendar for the school and goes over it daily to make sure that each event is scheduled correctly. Francis also keeps everything updated for Josten’s on all senior related issues. “What I do for Josten’s is scheduling what day they are coming to the school, making sure all the students are well aware what time and day they are coming and especially making sure all of the seniors have ordered and received a cap and gown for graduation,” Francis said. Those who have worked closest with Francis know her to be a hard worker and friend to all. “I have know Ms. Francis since 1991 when she was the guidance secretary here at MHS when my oldest son was a freshman. After years of knowing her she has impacted my life in many, many ways,” school receptionist Pam Buscemi said. “Ms. Francis has

shown me, through her everyday example, how to be compassionate even when circumstances may tempt us to act otherwise; how to deal with parents in a kind and understanding manner when they’re here at MHS to deal with a student disciplinary matter; her Christian faith is first and foremost in every aspect of her life and she has been the role model I bring to mind many times during my daily routine.” Outside of the school Francis enjoys reading, watching her grandkids play and she also sings with a gospel group at her church. She plans to continue this all after retirement. Also after retirement she plans to spend more time with her family and hopes to travel within the United States. “I am incredibly thankful for the 31 years I have been here, I have never had a period of time that I hated coming to work. Even though it is not what I anticipated doing going into school, I have loved and enjoyed every part of it, I am going to miss getting to spend time with all the students, and the people I work with,” Francis said. “I have loved every day of this job and have never been able to think of anything I would rather do. It has been a pleasure for me.”

Profile for Sound to Sea

Issue 4 - May 2018  

Issue 4 - May 2018