Administrative Professionals’ Day was April 22. This story is intended to serve as an example of the important work and extra-curricular efforts that administrative assistants perform in schools throughout Alberta.
For school administrative assistant Lynda Parrott, a tireless dedication to helping socially marginalized students began when she noticed one particularly shy student and invited her into the office to talk. Parrott soon learned that the girl had a creative side.
Parrott, who works at Waverly School in Edmonton, began to invite other students to join in craft activities and eventually started a photography club for the group. It soon became the most attended club in the school, and shortly afterward she introduced a knitting club. Other students soon became interested, and now the knitting club has 26 students from Grades 1 to 6.
Over lunch hour, recess and other breaks, Parrott invites the students to come into the office to knit and also takes them outside with cameras.
“Staff like to see the kids knitting in the office and that they are all engaged and talking to each other. The kids even help one another,” she said. “I think it’s important that we have these types of groups because it builds a sense of community for the children and they all end up feeling important.”
Additionally, Parrott has organized the collection of Canadian Tire money so that she could purchase items like skipping ropes for the children to use at recess. She has also organized hampers, warm clothing or lunch items for students and families in need.
The school received yarn donations from the community and the students knit a large scarf that was given to a local group that assists homeless people.
For Parrott, an interesting aspect of the clubs has been the mixing of socially isolated students with those who are more socially adept.
“It’s created a really dynamic community of kids,” she said, “and has forged friendships between students that may not have connected otherwise.” ❚