Smedegard leaves decades of memories
Superior Middle School students and staffers bid farewell to Sue Smedegard the school's longtime administrative secretary. She has worked at SMS and Central Middle School before that for three decades -- long enough to see students grow into pare...
Superior Middle School students and staffers bid farewell to Sue Smedegard the school's longtime administrative secretary.
She has worked at SMS and Central Middle School before that for three decades -- long enough to see students grow into parents and teachers.
"You remember most of them," she said. "Everyone has something memorable about them."
Smedegard started as a secretary at Central in 1971 and said the idea that kids today are getting worse is a myth.
"Almost all kids are still really good. There are just a few that get misguided," she said.
Still, Smedegard said she has seen "just about everything" working with middle school students for the past three decades.
She's survived fires, a ceiling collapse and moments of extreme sadness and happiness that have played out in the school's office, she said.
Changes have occurred in schooling through the years -- most notably in the use of technology.
Smedegard remembers Central getting its first electronic typewriter around the time she started at the school. Now computers are in every room and kids know how to use them, she said.
The technology has made Smedegard's position as administrative secretary both easier and more difficult, she said.
Technology allows for access to a lot of information; testing and discipline reports are instantly available. A person doesn't have to dig through mounds of paper to find them, but the technology also means school employees are required to generate more information, she said.
One of the biggest events for Superior's middle school students during Smedegard's tenure was the move from Central to SMS.
The move was tough because the building held a lot of memories for everyone. But the new facility is bigger and brighter. It's easier for students to learn in a building like this, she said.
Fashion has also changed through the years, but now they're cycling back to outfits worn by students in the early '70s, she said.
The most important changes have occurred in past students who now enter the school office as teachers and parents instead of office runners or misguided students, she said.
"These are very much my own family," she said. "The only difficulty in leaving right now is this is the best staff in the state of Wisconsin ... this is a great place for kids to go to school."
Smedegard will be missed. Her knowledge of families, the building and the district will be missed, said principal Richard Flaherty.
The relationships she had with kids and families in this school district are irreplaceable. "Having that connection is something you can't duplicate," he said.
SMS staff held celebrations for Smedegard throughout the day as a send off, he said.
Starting next wee,k Smedegard said she plans to spend the school day hours relaxing, training her new puppy and grooming snowmobile trails when the snow starts flying.
Anna Kurth covers education. Call her at (715) 395-5019 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .