Jeri Fickes concludes 35 years of employment at WHS
Wooster High School has quite a bit of history behind it.
It has gone from the corner of Quinby Ave. and Bowman St. to where it sits now; it has been rated effective to excellent with distinction by the ODOE; it has seen many different principals, associate principals, athletic directors and teachers pass through it.
For Jeri Fickes, WHS administrative secretary, 35 and a half years of this history has been seen firsthand. Fickes’ retirement was announced at the January BOE meeting and was effective April 1.
Fickes began working as a babysitter at the young age of 15 and went from the Sears catalog and service department to Lighting Rod insurance to Unique Imports and finally accepted a full time job opening in August of 1978 at the old WHS.
Quite a few fond memories were made at the old high school for Fickes.
One of her most easily recalled memories is based on the camaraderie built during lunch. The old high school had one lunch room for the staff and the company of each was enjoyed by all, Fickes said.
One of Fickes’ most favorite memories while working in WHS, took place between the years of 1994 through 2005, which include the years her children and their friends attended WHS. She loved that her kids and their friends would stop by and say hello or wave on their way by.
Through Fickes’ years at WHS, she has made many lifelong friends. One of the many include Diane Lepley, the former Guidance Dept. secretary who has recently accepted Fickes’ former position.
Lepley said she misses Fickes because her shoes are big shoes to fill.
Over six years spending day- to-day time with Fickes, Lepley has had many fond memories with her.
“Our interactions with each other and trying to get things done for the work day,” are some of Lepley’s favorite memories with Fickes.
Another of Fickes’ colleagues,
Dave Snider, WHS Science Dept. member, has been through quite a few of the 35 and a half years with Fickes.
Snider said what he will miss most about Fickes is, “her knowledge, to be able to ask her how do I do this and she can tell me how to get it done [helps me the most].”
Fickes has mixed emotions
concerning her retirement. She commented that she is sad to leave this part of her life, but is happy to begin the next step.
Her plans for retirement include traveling to Alaska, Costa Rica and many other places.
One of the plans about which she is most excited is becoming a National Quilt Association Certified Judge.
Fickes has quilted and done other types of judging since 1989. A strenuous application process is needed to become a certified judge in which Fickes must fulfill numerous requirements, including answering 30 questions and defining 30 quilting terms so a non-quilter will be able to understand them.
Fickes has five years to complete this task and is allowed two attempts.
Even through the traveling and quilting, Fickes does not plan on being a stranger to WHS. She plans on coming in when she can as a substitute secretary and will stay as active as she can within the district.
Fickes says, “I appreciate the friendships I’ve made and I think working around the kids has kept me thinking young and it’s a good place to work, it’s a good school district to be involved in. I’m gonna love them and I’m gonna miss them.”
Fickes offers this last piece of wisdom and advice to WHS students: “Just keep coming, keep your attitude up, study hard, time goes by quickly, the four years you’re here really flies by, so use each to the fullest that you can.”