An Office Friend

Monica Mullins is more than just a secretary

Most conversations in a school lunch line between cafeteria workers and students revolve around what a student wants to eat that day. Not very often do students interact with workers on a personal level.

For Monica Mullins, working in the cafeteria meant much more. It meant she could interact with and truly impact students’ lives.

“I had a parent call me and tell me that they were so glad that I was at the school because I saved their kid’s life,” Mullins said. “The student was contemplating suicide. It makes you like your job. If you can touch one kid’s life it’s worth it,” Mullins said.

After this experience, Mullins realized just how rewarding her job could be.

“I’m still friends with them and they graduated a few years ago,” Mullins said. “They’ve moved out of state and they’re doing really well. So I thought, if anything, I did the one good thing. It’s very rewarding.”

Being in the cafeteria for as long as she had, and with selling real estate on the side, she made many personal relationships with the alumni of Northwest.

“I got a call the other day from a girl who wanted to buy real estate from me,” Mullins said. “At that time I just served lunch. That’s how they knew me, and they wanted to buy a house from me.”

Working here for 12 years in total, Mullins wasn’t always a secretary.

“I’ve been working in the office around four years and I was in the cafeteria for eight,” Mullins said.

Within her twelve years on staff, Mullins has been able to reach out to even the most private students.

“One of the kids, texted me the other day that she had her baby,” Mullins said. “She doesn’t even like people. That’s part of why she goes to counseling and things. They were shocked that she actually told me about her baby. But that’s just what kind of person I am I guess. I find myself drawn to the people that have problems, because I want to help.”

Even with these things in mind, moving to the office often meant less time with students for Mullins. She couldn’t personally connect with as many kids anymore.

“I don’t have as much one on one conversation with them like I used to,” Mullins said. “Even though I had just less than a minute, I could find out just so much about them. I love dealing with people and it’s just an all around rewarding job. I am happy I came in here, but I do miss seeing the same kids every day.”