Monday, April 27, was officially declared "Kathy Connor Day" at Gaston Day School. For those of you who don't know, after twenty-five years of incredible service, Mrs. Connor has decided to retire at the end of this school year. It is so hard to imagine Gaston Day School without Kathy or to thank her properly for all she has meant to the School. Kathy Connor Day was our attempt to say "Thank You" in a big, public celebration.
For all her time here, Kathy has served as the receptionist and school secretary. Really, however, she has also been the mother to the School. She touches the lives of everyone here regularly. She dispenses cough drops, gives out bandages, delivers forgotten clothes and books, communicates messages from home, oversees admission to class when a student is late, coordinates the driver's education paperwork, orders caps and gowns, deposits checks in our bank account, and helps organize the Head of School. She knows everything about the School. Want to know how to register for summer camp? Ask Mrs. Connor. Confused about why the printer is jammed? Ask Mrs. Connor. Sometimes her office has five people in it, all wanting something at once from Mrs. Connor. Somehow she takes care of everyone's needs and smiles the whole time!!
Let me tell you some of the things that make Kathy Connor a remarkable colleague and person. First is her determination to complete anything that she is asked to do. If a parent brings Mrs. Connor a lunch box left at home by a student, Mrs. Connor will not rest until it is in proper hands. If I am supposed to sign a document, Kathy hands me the pen and makes sure that the task is complete. If a student is unaccounted for, Mrs. Connor will tactfully, but persistently, investigate until she finds out where they are.
A second remarkable quality that Kathy Connor possesses is her discretion. Mrs. Connor and I have worked together now for fourteen years. I have never heard her say anything bad about anyone. She does not share confidential information. She will not gossip. How many people do you know about which the three previous sentences can truthfully be said? Kathy Connor may be the only person I know who consistently and faithfully practices the age-old adage: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all."
Other things that make Mrs. Connor so special. She is so kind and caring. Children big and small feel safe and secure with her. She knows how to reach out to someone in a time of loss and distress. She knows how to laugh heartily at a good joke and, especially, at herself. She is a constantly cheerful and considerate.
So for all these reasons and for all her years of faithful service, this past Monday was officially declared "Kathy Connor Day." Kathy's husband John and son Mike brought Kathy over to the Pamela Kimbrell Warlick Auditorium at 10 o'clock. The whole school was assembled. We brought Kathy on stage to give her flowers, other gifts symbolic of how she helps us each day (bandages, cough drops, etc.), and then reigning Homecoming Queen Gray Heath crowned Mrs. Connor as Queen for the Day. The lower school chorus sang Mrs. Connor a special song that made her cry. Then we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Kathy because it also happened to be her birthday. Nobody has ever gotten a louder standing ovation. I eventually had to stop the applause so we could continue our program. Kathy wore her crown for the rest of the day, even when husband John took her to lunch off campus.
Thank you, Mrs. Connor, for serving Gaston Day School so well for so long. We are really, really going to miss you. Your goodness and dedication have made such a huge difference in all of our lives. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.