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Longtime school secretaries find 'new home'

6/15/2012

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

It's not exactly the way they had it planned. But Lynda Siefers and Kay Taylor finally get to put their desks together.

Longtime secretaries at Kennedy Middle School in Hays, the duo will be directing traffic at the newly renamed Hays Middle School this fall.

Kennedy closed at the end of the 2011-12 school year, and shortly thereafter all three Kennedy secretaries -- and their desks -- were moved to HMS, whose name was changed from Felten Middle School with the merger.

"All those years, Kay always wanted to rearrange the desks and put our desks together so we'd be facing one another," said Siefers, the veteran of the bunch with 24 years experience.

Also moving north several blocks to HMS will be Janae Atkerson, who had been at Kennedy for 11 years. During this past spring semester, she spent time at both middle schools.

"It made the transition a lot easier," Atkerson said of her working at Felten these past few months.

What really will make Atkerson happy is being reunited full-time with her colleagues from Kennedy.

"I'm really glad they're going to be up here," she said of Siefers and Taylor. "I think it will be a lot of fun."

The Kennedy trio will join Chris Schneider, Felten's only secretary for a while last year until Atkerson joined her midyear as others were lost through attrition.

So, Schneider also was pleased to hear who her new co-workers would be.

"I'm excited about them being here," said Schneider, who already knew the Kennedy secretaries well because her children attended Kennedy. "They know so much, quicker ways to do things. When I started here, I didn't get a lot of training and having Janae here (in the spring), she told me how Kennedy did things, got a taste of it beforehand."

Siefers and Taylor never imagined they would leave Kennedy, where they sat side-by-side for 18 years after Taylor started at Kennedy in the mid-1990s.

"I was going down with the building," Siefers said with a laugh. "I planned on retiring from (Kennedy)."

But, she admits, the move has been a relatively easy one and is excited about the new year.

"It's a melding process," Siefers said. "We do things one way; they do things one way. It's the best of both. Each of us has picked up things from the others."

Taylor agreed.

"It's not just a change for Kennedy people, it's a change for (Felten), too," she said. "Everybody has made us feel really welcome here. And we're putting our minds together and working together well."

Taylor finally got her wish of putting their desks together, too.

"And she finally got a window," Siefers said.

It was unanimous that the camaraderie among the secretaries the past few weeks as they all settle in together has made for a smooth transition.

"It's sad because Kennedy is a great building, and it was fun all being there together, like one big family," Taylor said. "But it's like our family is all moving to a new home."