Human. A quality that is unique to none and shared by all of society. As a species, humanity relies on identity to make them different, such as their behavior, personality, and past experiences. So why is it that so many people fail to understand people beyond the surface? To recognize what makes them so individually special?
The truth is, many are oblivious to the impact others have on their lives. They murmur “good morning” as they hustle to class in the high school, adding a quick “thank you,” that is if they remember, to someone holding the door open for them. Rarely does anyone pause to converse with those that fulfill important roles around the building as genuine people, frequently taking their lives, their daily presence, for granted.
But what if people looked past the masks? And past their duties at the school? What if individuals got their full stories? Wilton High School’s hidden gems are some of the most impactful and crucial people in the building. Shining a light on just a few of many important staff members, Kim Ely, Nancy Murphy, and Rodney Thoby share their personal stories: clear depictions of the recognition they deserve.
In a poll of 54 high school students at Wilton High School 48.1% do not know the names of any of the staff at their school excluding teachers, counselors, and administrators, 77.7% of students do not feel like they know these staff members well, and 72.3% of students rarely converse with them.
Most students graduate without ever learning the name of the cafeteria worker that sat behind the cash register at lunch, the custodian that swept the gym floors after school dismissal, or the receptionist that greeted them every morning.
Like many other high schools around the country, the hidden gems are often underrepresented, including others like guidance counselors, bus drivers, and nurses. They risk their health, along with their family’s to work during the pandemic. They follow extra precautions and work longer hours so that students can attend school safely. They come to work everyday with a smile because it’s the students that bring them their joy.
A single “hello” or “good morning” can make a person’s entire day.
This story was originally published on The Forum on May 26, 2021.