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School goes all out for secretary
'Renie is mother, nurse, fundraiser, counsellor, friend, and mentor to staff and students'

Shawn Giilck
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, May 2, 2013

INUVIK
Maybe next year Renie Alexie won't forget to circle Office Professionals Day on her calendar.

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East Three Secondary School celebrated Office Professionals Day April 24 by honouring school secretary Renie Alexie with a box of chocolates. - Shawn Giilck/NNSL photo

Led by East Three Secondary School vice-principal Lorne Guy, the school's administration and students have conspired to make the day special for their secretary for several years now.

That's how Guy came to be having a clandestine conversation with the Inuvik Drum two weeks ago.

"Every year we go all-out for her on this day," he said.

"Well, Renie is a bit modest," Guy said. "When you think of all the things someone needs to do to make sure your school runs efficiently, it's daunting. If you think of all the phone calls, the endless messages, the visitors, the e-mails, student needs, admin requests, parent questions, photocopies, faxes, band-aids, the mail, etc. I don't know how she does it. Renie is mother, nurse, fundraiser, counsellor, friend, and mentor to staff and students at our school. She is more than the school secretary."

Alexie wasn't entirely convinced of the idea April 24 when the Inuvik Drum arrived at her desk unexpectedly near lunchtime. Guy had escaped to Yellowknife on a trip and wasn't available to own up to his actions. That left it to a fast-talking reporter and school principal Deb Maguire to coax Alexie into an interview and photo. It took a few minutes of persuasion but Alexie saw the humour in the situation.

She's been with the school for eight years now and has struck up a remarkable professional friendship with the staff, particularly Guy.

"I just like being here," she said. "My duties consist of just about everything. I purchase all of our office supplies. I handle e-mails. I try to get involved in everything so I know what's going on. I like to help the teachers."

She's enjoying the change in environment at the new school.

"My favourite part is coming in early and seeing the students coming in," she continued. "There were some here before (8 a.m.) trying out for the track and field team."

She's come to expect that every year Guy will have something ready to mark Office Professionals Day. A few years ago, he had students and staff sign a giant card for her. Another year he had them write notes to Alexie.

"I've kept some of those notes," Alexie said. "He went to so much trouble to do it, and I didn't even suspect what he was up to."

She plans on continuing to work at the school for some time.

"I'm not going anywhere just yet," she said.

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