As a previous student at Wethersfield High School, it was clearly evident that Mrs. Griffin was passionate about her after school activities.
Being a female, sports weren’t exactly an option at WHS. Neither was wearing pants, which she describes as being “a huge change”, as skirts were mandatory. “Things changed quite a bit” she says.
Most females would spend their time after school in clubs. In Mrs. Griffins case, the Phoenix magazine was one of her outlets. Being a staff member of the Phoenix, she describes the process of how much effort went into the yearbook and the magazine.
Done on a real newspaper press, the magazine and yearbooks were printed in house and cut out by hand to look perfect. A full print shop was opened and the amount of work described to make the old yearbooks was immense.
The Yearbooks are now completed online through simple templates, that are described as “a piece of cake” compared to the old system. Students used to have to handwrite entries, and had most of their time consumed as a yearbook staff member.
Griffin graduated from the University of Hartford and got her degree in Instrumentation (automation and running factories).She transferred into United Technologies for her first line of work. Working in the plating lab and designing prototypes from huge sheets of acetate, down to simply designing onto computers was a massive change, and one that occurred right in front of her eyes.
Brought by United Technologies, Mrs. Griffin took an IT approach and landed herself a career at Wethersfield High School in 1998, working in the computer lab.
Although you can catch her behind a desk at the library most days, her love for computers is unmistakeable. Shown in the interview below, she has a passion for code and for making sure everything gets done on time.
Her other passions outside of the workplace include an active gardening life, tending to her birds, and sailing with her husband down in Old Saybrook.
There is no doubt that Mrs. Griffin is the right candidate to run the yearbook. Here is an interview with her about her career.
Q: What does working in the media center at Wethersfield High School entail?
G: Mostly just helping the kids with whatever they need. There’s paperwork and all those kinds of things but we’re mainly here to direct and help the students.
Q: Is there a lot of organization of books?
G: Mainly just following the Dewey decimal system and organizing fiction from non-fiction. It’s not a lot of work.
Q: What do you think about the newer students and how they learn? Are you seeing a decrease in book checkouts?
G: I’ve only been in the library for two years actually, but we take out a fair number of books. Mainly fiction. Now when there’s projects there’s actually a requirement for there to be a book component, not just look it up online. So we’ll have some come down and check out some non-fiction. It’s driven mostly by the assignments.
Q: What do you think about the decrease in book checkouts?
G: Well being a computer science person, I deal mostly with the computers. My focus is all about finding the resources online rather than a book. I’m more on the technology side.
Q: What’s your opinion on the school becoming more technologically driven ie: iPads and Chromebooks?
G: Totally my opinion. I’ve been with computers since the beginning and came along with them. I unfortunately see that students are understanding computers less and less. They expect things to be done at a touch of a button. It’s a mobile thing. They have difficulty formulating a good search. They’re letting Google take over everything. It’s about digging deeper. Pretty soon we won’t even have to type, it’ll be all speech.
Q: What made you decide to work at Wethersfield High School?
G: Quite honestly because my kids are in school haha. Only reason I’m here.
Q: Is there anything this job entails that you wouldn’t have expected?
G: Just that there’s so much repetition. That I have to tell some of the same people over and over again the same things. Talking to a whole group becomes difficult because a lot of students aren’t tuned into it. I just expected it to be different. Students are used to multitasking, a lot of retention isn’t there. That worries me.
Q: What does being in charge of the yearbook entail?
G: Deadlines. Deadlines. Always deadlines. The book is printed in sections because the company that prints them does so many different schools, and that means deadlines. It’s something that students don’t know about. Hard deadlines. With teachers extending deadlines for projects the yearbook isn’t quite like that. When the deadline is due the section goes to the printer that day. You can’t have another week. The hard deadlines are something that can be difficult to deal with.
Q: Any challenges with running the yearbook?
G: Besides deadlines, getting students to participate. Not just those on the yearbook committee, but the students. I have some students who haven’t even gotten their senior picture taken yet. Senior quotes are due too, and there’s a deadline for that. Sometimes getting the information out to the students can be difficult because no matter how many announcements, emails, teachers, or advisory classes tell them about them, there’s always some who don’t pay attention. It’s the kind of challenge that happens with every yearbook. It’s that it’s YOUR yearbook. I need your pictures, quotes, candids, family pictures or anything you want to put in. The problem is that students don’t do this and I never get submissions. My job is pretty much all the boring work but it’s important. It’s something that has to be done.