The famous Mister Rogers said, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his/her life is a hero to me.” Not all superheroes wear capes. Two heroes in our community run the front office at Adna Middle High School. If you’ve ever visited AMHS, the chances are high you were greeted by Mrs. Julie Wagner or Mrs. Lisa Werner. They are the glue that keeps the school running smoothly.
As the first people a parent or child will see when they walk through the front doors, these women are incredible human beings. Both being moms themselves, they know the importance of kindness, inclusivity and encouragement. They inspire, enlighten and motivate the kids at AMHS daily.
Mrs. Werner has worked at AMHS since 2012. “We have such a good support system, and everyone at the school has the kid’s best interests at heart,” she says. Her favorite thing about working in the office is her relationship with the kids. At graduation, the graduates give their mom a flower, but Sawyer Burdick also gave one to Mrs. Werner. “Mrs. Werner was my Momma away from home,” he says. “Many times, I would have given up on school if it weren’t for her. She is an absolutely selfless human.”
Mrs. Wagner has worked at AMHS since 2015. She always knew she wanted to work with children after formerly providing in-home preschool. She took care of many kids that are now in high school. “Julie genuinely cares for the kids,” says Adna parent Christina Rolfe. “She loves them like her own.” She knows this firsthand after Julie provided preschool for Christina’s children. Her youngest is now a senior, and Mrs. Wagner cheers him and the football team on in the stands every chance she gets.
Extremely compassionate and kind, Mrs. Wagner has a rule that no one cries alone. It’s comforting to know if your child is upset about something that they can head to the office, and she will be there with a shoulder to lean on and give encouragement. Her favorite thing about working at AMHS is the kids and getting to see them grow up to become great individuals.
A day in the life of Mrs. Werner and Mrs. Wagner is tremendously busy. Adna is a closed campus, so they answer the door and do the daily COVID-19 temperature check and questionnaire. The doors are locked as soon as school starts, making a busy day for the front office ladies. The utterly amazing thing about these women is they never complain. The pair could be in the middle of an important job when the doorbell rings, and they happily answer it, always greeting everyone with a welcoming smile on their faces.
AMHS is currently operating with a hybrid schedule. Mrs. Werner and Mrs. Wagner oversee getting all the homework out to the kids without internet access. Every day, they ensure the bus drivers have all the homework that needs delivering, along with the lunches.
Another one of the many jobs that the office staff handles at AMHS is admission into sporting events. Mrs. Werner and Mrs. Wagner are often operating the gates into Pirate stadium and fields or gym.
Before COVID-19 and the shutdown happened, our kids were in school more hours in the day than they were home. Teachers and school staff have such a significant impact on our children — how they behave, how they treat other people and how they are disciplined.
It is essential to know who your children’s teachers and staff are and love and appreciate them for their hard work. It can be a thankless job. Not only are they working daily with the future leaders of Lewis County, but they also stand on the sidelines cheering on our children. They celebrate when our kids succeed, and they mourn with us when they fail.
Having an efficient front office with a positive culture has a tremendous impact on how a school operates. The staff assumes many roles, as it’s their job to help a school run smoothly.
Mrs. Wagner and Mrs. Werner make an impact on AMHS kids daily. After all, they care about the kids because they want to make a difference by making Adna Middle High School a better place.