Morris Area Staff Person of the Year: Rita Rose
What is your background?
I was born in Peoria, Ill., in 1953. My family lived in Eureka, Ill., until I was 5 years old. We then moved to Minnesota to farm the family farm. I attended country school through 3rd grade. Our school closed so I went to "town school," which was Morris Public Elementary. I graduated from Morris in 1974.
After graduation I began school in Minneapolis to be an x-ray technician. I soon discovered that hospitals were not the best place for me. Soon after this, I completed a course in cosmetology and became a licensed cosmetologist. I married Gary Rose in September 1974 and we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary this past September. We have three children - Reid who lives in Hugo, Minn., Brody who lives in St Cloud and Amy Millard, who lives with her husband Rick and our two grandchildren, Austin and Ben, in Morris.
I was a "stay at home" for 13 years while our children were young. At that time I discovered that I really enjoyed working at school. Our children attended Cyrus elementary and I did volunteer work there. Twenty years ago, Jill Van Kempen needed to take a maternity leave to have her daughter Katie. She and Mike Martin asked if I would fill in for her as the Athletic Director's secretary. I loved it. I had to work part time for a year after Jill returned, and then was hired fulltime at the elementary. I can't believe that was 20 years ago. I still love working at school.
In what role did you start working at Morris Area? What was the school system like? How does it differ now?
As I stated earlier, I started as a temporary AD secretary for Mike Martin. After that, I worked one year part time in Cyrus and part time in Morris. My third year I was hired in the elementary full time to work for Brad Korn. I have since worked for five different principals at Morris Area High School. My job is always changing, and challenging, as the high school office is a busy place for staff, parents and students.
We had more students when I first started. Grades 9 through 12 were at the high school at first, and then all students in grades 7 - 12 moved to the same building.
Each hour the teachers took attendance and placed it on the outside of their classroom door. We would leave the office and run around and pick up these slips each hour. Now attendance is sent to the office via computer and even parents can look at this from home or work and see how their child is doing. The same goes for grades. Everything is sent to me and then I print the report cards. Parents have access to this information from home at anytime. Grades used to be loaded onto discs and then upload to my computer. Many times the discs were damaged and we had to a start over.
What is it about your job that you enjoy the most?
I enjoy the students most of all. Over the years I have discovered that teenagers have very tender hearts, love to laugh, and are a gift to all of us. They love to be listened to and cared about. They are smart, compassionate and funny. For the most part we will be just fine when it is their turn to "run the show." The staff at Morris Area is like family to me. I am so blessed to work with them. The parents are mostly appreciative and I like having the opportunity to help someone's day go a little smoother. I am very honored to be chosen as Support Staff of the Year. There are many who are deserving of this award. Thank you for choosing me.