The Forest City Community School District has two of its secretaries retiring, Kathy Jerome from Forest City High School and Julie Jefson from the district office.
According to Jerome, she and Jefson turned in their retirement letters on the same day in January and retired a week apart from each other; Jefson retired June 7, and Jerome June 14.
Jerome, 63, retired after 31 years of working as the high school office secretary, said her favorite memory from the school varied throughout her career.
“It’d be anything from performances by the fine arts, athletic events where we’ve come from 10 points down in one minute and winning the game before the 3-point shot came in to being able to work with outstanding teachers, seeing them come and retire,” Jerome said.
She said one of the highlights of her job was watching kids blossom and grow from their freshman year to their senior year.
“There’s so many memories, in between that, there’s so many memories,” she said.
Jerome said she’ll miss her coworkers, whom she called her family, the students, their parents who come in and the community, from the “little old lady who wants that special seat” to the UPS man.
“All those people that come and go, day by day, I’m going to miss all that,” she said. “Those are my people. That’s who I spent 8 hours a day with.”
Jerome plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and travel more, visiting her daughter and her family who live far away and getting together with old friends; however, she said they will continue to live in Forest City.
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“It’s been a good run,” Jerome said. “I think I’m ready to have some time now for myself.”
Jefson, 59, worked as the district assistant business manager for 39 years.
She said she got the job after attending a wedding with her future husband shortly after graduating Waldorf College. At the wedding, she met then superintendent Wayne Sesker, who offered her the job since the current secretary at the time was the bride of the wedding.
As the district secretary and assistant business manager, Jefson was in charge of paperwork, including payroll, employee benefits and retirement papers, which was also some of the most challenging parts of her job, along with some correspondence such as congratulatory cards and letters to the legislators.
Jefson had to take a lot of phone calls for her work, and some of those were interesting, especially in the wintertime with all the snow, but her most interesting call was when someone phoned in a bomb threat.
“I took that call to begin with, and I thought, ‘Is this a joke?’ But then I thankfully went and got somebody,” she said. “You don’t take those things lightly.”
Jefson said she’s looking forward to no longer being on a schedule, being able to travel a bit more and having more time to be with her grandkids. Since her family recently had a wedding, Jefson said she’s only now able to think about what she’ll be doing in retirement other than watching her grandsons.
“…And now after 39 years I leave it, and I think, ‘Wow, this was great,’” Jefson said. “Great staff, great kids, great buildings. We were very fortunate, very blessed.”