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The Answers

A column on education in Watkins Glen

The following was written by Travis Durfee, President of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association. It is the 11th in a continuing series of monthly columns.

Thanksgiving from the WGFA to our School-Related Professionals

Ronda Grady of Hector has served the Watkins Glen Central School District for more than two decades as a custodian or substitute cleaner. She has been a regular presence in the halls, typically wearing her custodian blues and a white headband. Ronda, who has taken care of the facilities for staff and students for years, is now in need of care herself.

Earlier this year, Ronda was diagnosed with an aneurysm on her brain stem. She is currently traveling to Rochester to seek care at the Strong Memorial Hospital. Recently, doctors performed an angiogram to determine the scope of the problem. The aneurysm is too large to remove. Will they use a coil? It’s too soon to say. She returns next month for further consultation.

In the meantime, her family and friends are helping Ronda cope with the news and chart the future. She is on an extended, unpaid medical leave from her duties with the WGCSD. Her finances are dwindling and her friends are trying to support her as best they can.

Ronda, a proud mother of four, said she was not interested in a handout, but she could surely use a hand up at the moment. The following link leads you to the GoFundMe page set up by one of our colleagues at WGCSD: Any contribution to the fund will help Ronda make insurance payments and defray costs from her medical care.

I share Ronda’s story during this season of Thanksgiving to highlight the connection between the educators of the Watkins Glen Faculty Association and our colleagues, the school-related professionals who help make our district run.

Tuesday Nov. 21 is School-Related Professionals Recognition Day in New York state. Our parent union, the New York State United Teachers, lobbied the state Legislature for a special day of statewide recognition for School-Related Professionals. SRPs work long and hard each day, laboring side-by-side as partners in education with other school staff on both the front lines and behind the scenes.

SRPs help to educate your children and keep them healthy. SRPs safely transport children to and from school, keep our buildings safe and clean, run the offices efficiently and provide nutritious food.

Who are the SRPs? They are your school bus drivers and attendants, cafeteria workers, teaching assistants and aides, school nurses, maintenance and grounds keepers, clerical and support staff in your schools. These hardworking men and women keep our school clicking on a daily basis.

Typically, the WGFA recognizes the SRPs who keep school humming with a simple offering. Donuts and coffee are the smallest gesture to express our gratitude. This year we would like to offer a little more. This year we share Ronda’s story.

Ronda attended school here, raised four graduates of WGCSD, and is one of the many SRPs who help maintain the school as the center of our community. I know that our community will support her in her time of need. Please join me in thanking an SRP on November 21 for their invaluable contribution to our schools, and also please consider showing Ronda your support.

Travis Durfee
Watkins Glen Faculty Association

Photos in text:

Top: Travis Durfee.
Bottom: Ronda Grady and daughter Jessica.

© The Odessa File 2017
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869