Longtime division secretary reflects on nearly 10 years

By Alex Cannella
News Editor
Most of the students who go to the math science resource room talk to her, but few actually know her name.
Math and science division assistant Veronica Van Buren is truly an example of magic behind the scenes.  She works as a secretary, introduces substitutes to Prospect’s system, helps committees such as the one currently reviewing the Advanced Algebra class, contacts book companies, calculates attendance, puts info into computers and prepares overheads. Whatever needs to get done, Van Buren does. In fact, she does it so well that last April she received that District 214 Educational Support Personnel (ESP) of the Year award for her ability to keep a division of over 35 teachers, one of the largest divisions in Prospect, going like a well oiled machine.
Surprisingly, Van Buren doesn’t mind the level of time and effort she puts into her job, describing it as a “peaks and valleys kind of thing.”
Currently, Van Buren finds herself a bit less busy than most times of the year, but once the holiday season nears, she starts becoming incredibly busy with math and science teacher “wish lists”, or teacher lists for changes they want to see in the school or things they want.
In December, she will have been a division assistant for 10 years. As with most jobs, hers has seen quite a bit of change since she began.
Technology has been the main catalyst for change. A system that reroutes messages allows Van Buren to not have to pick up a phone every five minutes, and overall, her job has expanded to a larger variety of tasks while advances in technology make it easier to process information.
Van Buren also remembers a substitute teacher she still occasionally talks to, Cory Lapinski. Lapinski was a substitute teacher while he was trying to get into major league baseball as a pitcher. However, even though he made it to the minor leagues, he decided not to pursue a pitching career due to a shoulder injury. Lapinski didn’t want to injure his shoulder again, so he took a new route into accounting.
“We were joking with him because he had a couple of tryouts in Florida for a minor or major league position,” Van Buren said. “I said, ‘When you make it to the big leagues, I expect to get a signed baseball,’ and when he told us about his change in direction, I was like ‘well, you better not let me down and still get me an autographed baseball.'”
The signed baseball she received still rests on her desk today.