By Bella Quintanilla
Each year a classified staff member is celebrated for their hard work and vigor with the Classified Employee of the Year award. This year that award goes to Mrs. Edith Garay, Assistant Principal's secretary, a woman who has made a strong first impression to the staff and students of this school. This year, having been her first year back to work after eight years of unemployment, Garay was very surprised to have been honored with this award. She was able to take on a very busy job and fulfill it to the best of her ability.
Nominating staff and other staff who spent much of their time near Garay would agree that she brings a vibrant energy to the workspace and fits in as a Puma very well. Olsen explained that to be a Classified Employee of the Year means to be “someone who is all in! Someone who loves being a Puma! Someone who puts others before themself,” which Olsen and other staff would agree accurately describes the attitude Garay had when she first began working at this school and continues to carry to this day. Assistant Principal, Mrs. Krystal Fielstra, applauded Garay saying that “she cares for [the] students, participating in Chicanos Unidos meetings, ELL lunches and activities, and showing up whenever a student invites her.” Clearly, Garay has truly earned the praise of her peers and she has proved her deserving of this award.
Family is extremely important to Garay, they are always her first priority. She and her husband have five children, two of whom have already moved out. During this time, she has been helping her three youngest children adjust to online school work. She stated that her husband and children “keep [her] grounded and in touch with who [she] is” and make her the best version of herself. Her biggest inspiration in her life comes from her parents, who raised her to work hard, be kind to those she meets and do all that she can even when it is not asked of her. With all that her parents have done for her and her sibling, she shared that she “[tries] to honor them with always doing [her] best at everything [she] attempts.” Having a big family, Garay always puts them first and constantly does all that she can for them, and in return, they make her the bright woman she is today.
Garay explained that this year has been very unique, having made some very good friends with the other ladies in the office and being able to experience all the different events and activities. She added that her favorite aspect of the school is “the people. The staff here is incredible and always looking to make this school the best possible experience for the students.” Garay also shared that her coworkers have become like family to her and make each day special. Not only has she become very fond of the other staff on campus, but she has found that the students have also been a “privilege to be around.” She enjoys the creativity involved in spirit days and the all-inclusiveness of the events and activities. These aspects are what made her first year so welcoming.
This humbling award has made Garay very happy and feel very accepted by her peers. She thanks her coworkers for being so supportive and welcoming. Hoping to get back to the office next semester, Garay is grateful for this award and hopes to work just as hard next year.