Administrators get their day |

Administrators get their day

William Ferchland
Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily Tribune Mary Jolley, left, and Beverly Bashaw have been showered with balloons and flowers in the office at St. Theresa Catholic School for Administrative Professionals Day.

They can be job savers and dreaded gatekeepers. They’re the person behind the curtain and the crutch of the organization.

As the American work force celebrates Administrative Professionals Day today, secretaries like Mary Jolley and Beverly Bashaw are ready to reap the benefits of free food, flowers and balloons.

“They are the first impression that you get at the school and the last person you see when you leave,” said St. Theresa Catholic School Principal Danette Winslow. “They basically hold the school together.”

Besides the usual administrative work at the small private school, Jolley and Bashaw act as school nurses, order food supplies and handle complaints from bicyclists peeved about cars blocking the bike lane.

“My philosophy is more kids use Band-Aids in the year of kindergarten than they use for the rest of their life,” Jolley said with a smile. “I have certain kids who come down here for Band-Aids every day.”

The two also walk students to the nearby Boys and Girls Club and special education classes at Al Tahoe Elementary School.

Pam Vario, an administrative assistant to Lake Tahoe Community College President Guy Lease, has had her position for 24 years. When the college was in a converted motel she worked in the front office where people would register.

Before working at the college, she was an assistant in the neurology department at Stanford School of Medicine. Monkeys and cats were a common sight in the department, she said.

“I really enjoy the educational atmosphere,” Vario said.

At Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Gail Fullerton has held the office together for three years. She even acts a public information officer during emergencies or big fires, Chief Brian Schafer said.

Staff and students at South Tahoe Middle School are mourning the death of Midge Mercado, a longtime assistant who passed away earlier this month. Mercado supervised student attendance at the school’s front office.

Principal Mike Greenfield said he could give Mercado a slight description of a student and she would know the name.

“She got to know almost the whole student body because they revolved through her on a daily basis,” Greenfield said.

“Once the news got out, so many former students were devastated because everyone knew her,” said Joy Rothschild, who helps in the office sometimes. “I don’t think there’s enough to say about her.”

According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the event was formed in 1952 as a way to recognize assistants and lure people to the field. It was called National Secretaries Day before the name was changed to Administrative Professionals Day in 2000.

– E-mail William Ferchland at

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