By Cindy McWhirt | Contributor
Dear Taylor Students,
Before I came to Taylor, I had several dead-end jobs. At one point I worked in the newly built Pendleton prison where I applied and was hired as a corrections officer for male inmates. That job required me to go through a lot of training for weapons and self-protection classes. I stayed there for five years but felt it was not a good fit for me because I always had to watch my back. The only thing I got out of it was my best friend, Patty. She had my back because we both had God in our hearts.
A friend told me about Taylor, and I got a job as a cook at the Dining Commons in 1994 and held that position until 2000. I then transferred to the Grille for eight years. My boss, Penny, got promoted to administration assistant and needed a cashier because hers was retiring. So she asked me, and, of course, I said yes. Back to the DC I went. One of the ladies who worked there, Barb Benedict, was known for memorizing every student's name before Thanksgiving, which meant I had some big shoes to fill. What I wouldn't give to have a photographic memory! I would love to know all the students by name. I've found the secret to learning your names is for you to introduce yourselves to me or to be in trouble.
I have the best job on campus because I get to interact daily with the kids. Many of you have become lifelong friends. I've had the privilege of doing two Airbands. I've even been in some short movies with my "son," Cam Glass (my maiden name was Glass). I have been in a commercial and in discussion groups. I really enjoy seeing all of you students outside of the DC.
I also wear another hat around campus: concessions for athletic events. I've run this for three years. The sports include softball, baseball, soccer, football, basketball, volleyball and Special Olympics. Here's a perk of running the concession stands: during the three years I've worked there, I have accumulated three concession stands for my family. One of these is a 1978 Pepsi trailer that my boss bought from Pepsi for a dollar. Over this summer, my husband David, my sidekick Erica Kieffer and I renovated it with a new paint job, new lights and wood floors. Penny helped do the vinyl lettering. We are excited to use it for outdoor games.
I love the fact that my boss, Matt Riley, lets me get creative and backs me on my projects. One neat idea of mine is for two high school concession workers to go through the stands during football games with decorative boxes to sell popcorn.
I know some of you must wonder why my desk is full of frogs. I use them as my testimony. I try to encourage the staff and students to always FROG: Fully Rely On God. I also try to live my life doing just that.
I'm very fortunate to work at graduation selling treats and drinks because I get to see all you graduates as you walk into the gym. I'm always a mess that day because I cry like a baby.
When students first come to Taylor, you look so young and lost. When you leave, you're all grown up and ready to conquer the world. Many students seek me out before they go. I feel so blessed to have been able to touch your lives, even in a small way.
Taylor has grown so much, and I don't always adjust well to change. But change can be good too. As you move through Taylor and into the outside world, remember to FROG. That is true whether you're working a dead-end job, working at a jail or running concessions at a college sports event!
In conclusion, thank you, students, for keeping me young. I love you! I am so blessed to serve you.