Subschool Assistants: The unsung heros of Chantilly

Most students see them at least a few times in their high school career, sitting in front of each of the subschools with a table full of passes and schedules. With the amount of responsibilities they attend to on a day-to-day basis, the subschool assistants are the unsung heroes who keep the school humming along through the day.

“I always say I am the mom away from home because students can come in here [as] it’s a safe zone,” subschool 3 administrative assistant Marlene Burke said. “I help with locker problems, listen to students vent about a friend they are angry at or talk about teacher-student conflicts and can help fix them.”

When students arrive for class in the morning, the subschool is already abuzz with activity.

“I get here between 7 a.m. and 7:15 a.m., and I start [the day] by checking my answering machine,” Burke said. “I get all the messages about students who are coming in late or about students who will be out sick.”

The last few minutes before the morning bell tend to be especially eventful.

“At [this time of day,] many students are coming in and out and wanting to meet with counselors or assistant principals,” Burke said.

For the most part, the spheres of influence of the different subschools are the same, but there are unique aspects to each subschool.

“Substitutes for the art and science department come to me [subschool 3] in order to check in for the day. I give them their timesheet, substitute folder and substitute plans. I try to make them feel comfortable,” Burke said.

There are still jobs that apply across the board for the subschools.

“I have a lot of jobs,” subschool 2 administrative assistant Christina Gagne said. “We deal with the students, take attendance, help assemble discipline, help the counselors and run transcripts and passes. We do a little bit of everything.”

With the large amount of responsibilities loaded on their plates, the subschool assistants work to complete everything in the short timeframe of a school day.

“There is a lot of room for error, and I don’t like to make mistakes,” Burke said.

Because the subschool assistants handle so many different tasks at once, they are not able to leave their desk to distribute passes or other important documents for students. That is where the student runners are especially helpful.

“They’re a huge asset to all of us, and [the subschools] have to share sometimes,” subschool 1 administrative assistant Denise McCormick said. “They run passes for counselors and the [assistant principals, and] they run any communication that we have for them, such as directed CT and Charger in Good Standing letters. They’re very helpful.”

Subschool runners are typically juniors and seniors of that subschool who have an extra period in their schedules. There is no grade for the class, but attendance is still mandatory.

“[The class] still counts so you have to be present. You can’t just go home,” subschool runner and senior Chloe Pantophlet said. “I wish it was more of an option especially because my running period is 8th period and I wish I could leave after 6th period.”

Regardless of the situation that they are in, students can count on having one place that they can turn to for advice, assistance or even just a quick greeting.

“We always want [the students] to feel welcome inside the subschool,” McCormick said. “If they have questions, we’re always here to help them. We’re always here to make their day better.”