Nurse Gerald wins classified employee of year


Riley O'Neill

Tuesday afternoon, NC students and administration paraded into the clinic to name nurse Fikera Gerald the school’s 2016-17 Classified Employee of the Year. Commenting on the attention, Gerald humbly admits, “now that I’m in the hot seat it feels a little odd.”

Riley O'Neill, Reporter

Unable to function with teachers alone, schools also require vast networks of classified employees to fulfill critical roles involving everything from scheduling and maintenance, to nursing and clerical work. Each year, NC faculty honor one of the school’s classified employees who they feel served the school exceptionally well. This past Tuesday, NC joyously honored nurse Fikera Gerald as its 2016-17 classified employee of the year.

David Stephenson, NC Assistant Principal and International Studies Program Coordinator, found little surprise that NC faculty chose its nurse of four years for the prestigious award. Commenting on Gerald’s ceaseless dedication, Stephenson explained, “she’s responsive when we have emergencies, compassionate when kids have issues, and clear at sharing with staff what the expectations are with kids who have medical needs.”

Gerald faces a formidable task in caring for the health of over 2,000 students who attend NC. Despite such considerable responsibility, Gerald gains a campus-wide reputation for her ever-present smile and positive attitude.

The honored nurse admits Tuesday’s announcement surprised her, especially considering NC’s unique tradition for bestowing the award upon its selected honorees each year.

“They all came in the room playing the Warrior fight song, I was given a vase of flowers, and it was really nice,” Gerald said on the parade of band students and faculty who brought the news.

Although schools require much more faculty than teachers in classrooms, classified employees usually accomplish behind-the-scenes work that isn’t immediately noticed throughout the building. But these unsung heroes help maintain a safe, cleanly, and organized environment for NC students’ learning.

Reflecting on the award, Gerald admits, “it is always great to be appreciated and just have somebody see what you do.” The beaming nurse happily greeted several students stopping by during their lunch period to congratulate her on the award.

Celebration for Gerald’s award does not stop at the school level, as she will also attend a luncheon where the Superintendent and Board of Education Members who will honor her onstage. Besides Gerald, NC faculty and staff nominated five other classified employees who they felt served the school well.

Gerald extensively expressed her admiration for her fellow nominees, mentioning specific ways each individual has supported her. Celebrating those nominees, the NC nurse admits, “I had some stiff competition [and] I share this with all of them.”

Considering NC’s incredible faculty and staff, recognition as the school’s classified employee of the year constitutes no small feat. The school will continue advertising Gerald’s accomplishment, and students should stop by to thank their nurse for her constant efforts to protect their health.

Hopefully, Gerald finds time throughout her busy schedule to properly basque in her well-deserved glory. Towards a woman crucial to NC’s survival and success, students and staff cannot extend enough thanks.