Unsung Heroes Part II: Secretarial Staff


Front Row: Barb Bergwell, Roxi Stewart, Cheryl Summer Back Row: Shannon DeWitz, Jan Thurber, Patsy Wall

Editor Note: This is part two of a three part series.

As students walk around the Owatonna High School, we see many faces of the staff each day. Students may not know who they are  or what they do here. Many of the staff do not get recognized for all the duties they do here at OHS.

When you walk to the office, Mrs. Jan Thurber will be sitting there. Thurber works with attendance. She listens to messages about when you’re sick, and marks it down. She deals with tardies and skipping class. Thurber said, “I like working with all the kids here.” She says she does not like dealing with the naughty ones. Thurber has two children and four foster kids. On Feb. 15, she will be married for 34 years.

Next, there is Mrs. Patsy Wall. Wall has been working at the OHS for four years. She says she loves seeing everybody, and loves working with the students. She said, “It’s a challenge learning different parts of the job.” She just recently switched to working in the office. This is her third week. Wall is married and has two children.

Over by the principal’s office is Mrs. Shannon Dewitz. Dewitz has been working at OHS for seven months. Dewitz said, “I like working with the students, and I enjoy the fast pace of day to day activities.” She said it’s challenging learning the whole job, and memorizing everyone’s names. She is a wife, and a mother of three girls and one boy all in elementary and pre-school.

Next to Mrs. Dewitz is Mrs. Cheryl Summer. Summer is Mr. Randall’s secretary. Summer has been at OHS for eight years. She said she likes the variety of daily duties, and working with the students here. Summer said, “It gets crazy busy here.” Summer is a wife, and a mother of two boys. One is at his third year at Iowa state, and her other is a freshman here at OHS.

In the little room next to Dewitz and Summer, is Mrs. Barb Bergwall. She is the administrator secretary. She does the reporting, student parking, drivers Ed, discipline and she goes back in files. People who are in charge of hiring call her to see that the person applying for the job graduated and when.  Bergwall said, “I like the fact that I can work at my own pace and I have a lot of work to do to keep me busy.” She said it’s challenging running the computers when her programs don’t work. She is very impatient with her computer. She has one daughter and one son, who are twins. She also has five grandchildren.

Going into the career center Roxy Stewart will be sitting there with a smiling face. Roxy is the counselor’s secretary and she is in charge of the career center. Roxy was at the Owatonna Junior High School for four years and then transferred to OHS, she has been here for three years. Stewart said, “I love working with the students here and hearing what their college goals are.” She said it is hard seeing the students that don’t have family support and can’t go to college or get a job. Stewart is a wife, and a mother of three teenagers, two girls and one boy.

Secretaries at OHS are more than just staff workers. They work to have the school function properly, and they do it with a smile on their face every day. They are wives, mothers, sisters and daughters. They are heroes.