April 01, 2022

Recognizing the Many Small Acts

Hilary McCarthy

Paulette Ward, Diane Collins, and Lucy Ventura stand together on the campus of Glenelg Country School.


The work to support so many children is a team effort. So many people in education often work without being noticed. How faculty and staff show up daily is amazing. They make miracles happen. Usually, this work never seems part of the job description, yet the work gets done. It is the perfect moment to recognize the grit, determination, and joy of the people who make Glenelg Country School (GCS) the place we love.


The seemingly most insignificant jobs are the ones that make each day a safe, happy, and special one for students. It may include answering a parent’s call, tying shoelaces, staying late to prep for the next day, or drying tears. Faculty and staff come together to support and educate. 


Two women who have stepped up are Diane Collins and Lucy Ventura. They began serving lunch this year and are here each day with a smile and a welcoming presence. They work hard for the Operations staff but have established warm relationships with students. Both women know which sandwich students prefers, how many cucumbers a student will request, and which students need encouragement. This is the best of what independent schools can offer. Relationships are indeed the backbone of the GCS community. Diane and Lucy’s service to students deserve gratitude. 


It would be an error to not acknowledge and celebrate the work of one of the most integral people in the Lower School. No person is untouched by the kindness, support, and care of Paulette Ward. She began her tenure at GCS in 2001 as the administrative assistant to Linda Rotter, former head of Primary School. She worked in tandem with Rotter’s successor, Anne Wooleyhand, until her retirement last year. 


Ward transitioned to the Manor House to support the merging of the Primary and Lower Schools. Today, she helps oversee nine grades and over 300 students who come to school each day. Ward knows the ins and outs of the division. 


“I had the amazing opportunity to work with Paulette and cannot even begin to thank her for all she did to support the school, students, faculty, families, and me,” says Wooleyhand. “She is one of the most selfless people I have ever met.” 


Ward keeps all the moving parts of the Lower School in working order. Wooleyhand agrees. “She was always kind and ready to step in when needed. It is an honor to have worked with Mrs. Ward but even more so to call her my friend.”


With more than 20 years of service to GCS, Ward is one of the hardest-working people. She works well past office hours, answers the call of sick teachers at all hours, handles much of the budget, is a triage nurse, fixes uniforms without buttons, serves lunch, and is a “mom” to students who need a little extra TLC during the day. Ward is a real mom to alumna Emma ’18 and current student, Jimmie ’22. Her family is woven into the fabric of this community. Both of her children have worked at the school’s summer camp and interned with the school nurses. 


Ward was the first person Hilary McCarthy, interim head of Lower School, met at GCS in 2010 before her first interview. “Every day since she has supported not only me but my family as a faculty member and as a friend. As a mom, I can’t think of someone I would be more grateful to have in my child’s life,” says McCarthy. “We should celebrate all she does each day to make the Lower School run and flourish.”

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