Published on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by Davis Downey
Almost everyone has missed the bus, or slept in and shown up late to school. When they arrive late, the attendance office is where they go. The women in that office have to deal with every grumpy kid that has to get that one tardy that sends them to SAC.
Even after dealing with the excuses, paperwork, and other headaches that come from student absences, their favorite part of the job is being with the students.
“Just dealing with the kids is the best part,” head attendance clerk Susan Guest said. “It’s why we are here.”
Guest has a long of history with Bryan High, having attended during its inception in 1971.
“I’ve known many students their entire lives, and know a lot of the parents as well, since I’ve always lived here,” Guest said. “In fact, I have had students here at Bryan High that are the children of kids I taught in elementary school.”
It isn’t always dealing with attendance issues though, as Guest has also served as a counselor for many students, helping them through tough times.
“It’s tough when you know what some kids are going through because they bring in notes explaining their absences and its evident that they are going through difficult times,” Guest said. “I do feel very protective of my kids here and want to help when I can.”
After being in Bryan for so long, and forming deep roots in the community, it would be hard not to care about the students Guest says.
“[We] still have the same season football tickets that my husband’s parents bought when Viking Stadium was built,” Guest said. “We love this school and that is why I so enjoy being here and being a part of things.”
Guest said that one of the most difficult parts of the job is when parents call to see if their kids are in school and then find out they are not.
“That can be really sad sometimes because they don’t know where they are and whether they are okay or not,” Guest said. “As a parent, I know how heartbreaking that must be. We hear some pretty sad stories in here, both from parents and from students and sometimes we have to be counselors, or at least be supportive and lend a listening ear.”
The attendance job also comes with a barrage of notes and absences, hours of monotonous typing, and paperwork that has to be extremely accurate, but the students Guest interacts with make it all bearable.