For the past 11 years, Cindy Samson has been a familiar face behind the secretary’s desk at St. Patrick School. She has spent her days making copies, tending to student needs, and fielding calls and emails.
This year, Cindy is wrapping up her work in the front office and retiring from her role as secretary. While she will remain a part of our parish family, now is a good time to reflect on Cindy’s many contributions to the school and to say thank you for a job well done.
100% Committed to St. Patrick School
What newer members of our school family may not realize is that Cindy played an instrumental role in helping St. Patrick School navigate some rocky waters.
“I came at a time that was particularly challenging,” Cindy recalls. She and her husband Joe joined the parish in 1999, and their oldest daughter Johanna started at the school in 2000. Their second daughter Kristina would follow a few years later.
At that time, Murray Lake Elementary School had recently opened, pulling some students from St. Patrick School. In the years that followed, the parish experienced changes, and the economy faltered as the Great Recession hit. Enrollment dropped as families lost jobs or were forced to move. With numbers dipping below 100 students, some questioned the future viability of St. Patrick School.
However, Cindy was quick to step in and do whatever was needed to support and strengthen the school. When it was determined additional money needed to be raised to cover costs, she coordinated the parish’s participation in the annual Christmas Through Lowell event as a fundraiser. She also helped organize massive school-wide yard sales and was part of launching the school auction that is now held every year during the Parish Festival.
During this time, Cindy wore many hats. She was the PTO treasurer for three years, the sports boosters treasurer and served as both the vice president and president of the Education Commission. With a background in business, she looked for new and creative ways to market the school, and the welcome signs that now line the school lawn each fall originated with her idea to place signs in the yards of new students.
From an Alumni & Friends group to Science Olympiad, almost all aspects of life at St. Patrick School benefited from Cindy’s involvement. One of her final contributions as the president of the Education Commission was to interview candidates for an open principal position and select Scott Czarnopys for the position.
Reflecting on those years, Cindy says, “I never felt the Holy Spirit as keenly and obviously as I did then.” In her final email to other members of the Education Commission, she wrote that she often thought of the parable of the loaves and fishes – “somehow there was always enough.”
From Parent Volunteer to the Secretary’s Desk
As the economy improved and enrollment rebounded, it was time for Cindy to begin serving the school in a different way. As her youngest child was entering 8th grade, her duties as a parent volunteer were coming to an end, but a secretarial position opened up and Cindy was a perfect fit the for the job.
“It’s a gift to work here,” she says. “It’s hard to even call it a job.”
For more than a decade, Cindy says she has been blessed to be surrounded by incredible teachers, parents, and students. She uses words like “delightful” and “noble” to describe the people and mission of the school.
“Here, everybody matters and everybody counts and nobody gets left behind,” Cindy says. It’s a far cry from the office jobs she previously held. “It’s just a wonderfully supportive, energizing and enjoyable environment to work in.”
Even better, she has enjoyed immensely the opportunity to watch students grow academically, spiritually, and personally. And it isn’t just children who benefit from the education at St. Patrick School. “I always say that I’m a better Catholic for having my children here,” Cindy notes.
Heading into retirement, Cindy plans to devote time to her family, including the care of her aging father, and see where the Spirit takes her from there.
However, she doesn’t expect the Spirit to take her far from St. Patrick Church. “This is the type of parish you want to belong to,” she says. So although Mrs. Samson won’t be in the school office anymore, she’ll still be a part of the parish and we aren’t saying good-bye. Instead, we are taking this opportunity to say thank you for more than 20 years of selfless service.
May the road rise up to meet you…and may God hold you in the palm of His hand.