Alumni Stories

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Carolyn Drake

Class of 0

Staff Member nominee:

Carolyn Drake, who died in 2012, was a remarkably positive and dedicated member of the SE staff for over thirty years. As a member of the library staff, Carolyn had the opportunity to work with virtually every student in the district who entered the library to do any sort of research, to find a book or to avail themselves of the many services the library offers. Carolyn maintained the vertical files which were a staple of high school research in the days prior to the internet. She must have clipped articles from hundreds or perhaps thousands of newspapers and periodicals and neatly placed them into well marked folders in the large file cabinets in the main portion of the library. And she could retrieve that information for a kid or a teacher in just a matter of minutes. She could guide any student to the proper library sources no matter what questions that student might have and she was always well informed and always positive with the students.

Far more importantly, this quiet, humble, gentle woman was a mentor to hundreds of SE students over the years. She was also a supporter and nurturer for many teachers who often sought her advice. Carolyn always saw the good in teachers and students, in many ways, found her to be the ideal mother figure during the school day. She welcomed their daily visits to the library and she was always a true moral compass for so many students. She quietly imparted solid values and reenforced the concept of work ethic and always made certain each and every student felt special and respected. She would help students prepare an essay or study for a test. Then she would inquire as to how they were doing in the class and offer all the encouragement she could muster. And she did this every day, all day during the thirty years she served SE with honor and dignity.

Once, when a high school volunteer group was raking leaves for senior citizens, students noticed her name was not on the Sherburne list. So, at the end of a long day of raking leaves, they walked to Carolyn's house and raked her leaves and that became an annual tradition. The kids loved Carolyn and she loved them. They wanted to do something to show her that affection and to repay her for her ehlp and kindness to them.

Carolyn would be the first to say she is unworthy of this award but it would be one of the few times Carolyn would be totally incorrect about something.
She does deserve to be on the wall of fame preciscely because of her humility, the excellence of her work, her unfailing devotion and dedication to the district and its students and the guidance and personal support she offered to teachers often dealing with the challenges of a busy day at school . I was one of those teachers and Carolyn was one of the few who made certain I felt welcome during my first few weeks and supported me all through my time at SE. She knew how to keep any confidence; he detested gossip and office politics, and she always took the time to make students and teacher know how much they mattered.

Warm, loving, generous, endlessly humble, proud of her family and alway feeling fortunate to be a part of SE, Carolyn Drake enriched lives during her time in the district. She also had a wonderful and satirical sense of humor. Once with another teacher (me) who was joking that nobody was using the veritcal files anymore due to the arrival of the internet, she agreed to an experiment.
We created a file labeled "Useless Information" and spent days filling it with clippings of irrelevant news stories, half written articles, magazine advertisements cut in half and the like. She deposited it in one of the large file cabinets believing students would quickly find it and inquire as to its purpose thereby proving the file system coud still compete with the growing internet. That folder was still in that filing cabinet when Carolyn reluctantly retired and it was still there several years later when the vertical files were reduced and finally removed.

A solid community member, a dedicated professional, a deeply loyal and loving friend, a mentor to literally hundreds of students (many of whom maintained contact with her after she left SE), a true moral compass to every student to whom she spoke, this woman is exactly who should be honored and it is unfortunate she was not given this award while she was with us.

Please, please consider honoring this woman who loved Sherburne and loved the SE district. For many who shared their time at SE with Carolyn, she represented the very best the place had to offer. And anyone you ask--anyone who knew this dear woman--will not only agree to this assessent, they will add to it.

As far as "proof" that my statements are true, well, they can and will be verified by anyone who was ever privileged to know Carolyn Drake. Just ask.

Submitted by Jim Flanagan

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