HERRON - Brydi Haurgerud doesn't just love going to work every day as secretary at Wilson Elementary School, she craves it. Haurgerud has been a secretary for 16 years, but after the first week, she said she knew it was her "calling."
After graduating from a court reporting program at Ferris State University, Haurgerud, who said she could type 180 words per minute, found herself unhappy and in a lot of debt from student loans.
"To be a good court reporter, you need to be left handed, have long skinny fingers or play the piano, I was none of those," Haurgerud said. "I was so fixed on becoming a court reporter ... When I graduated, I had all these student loans, and I thought, what am I going to do?"
The Alpena area native took a job at Bolenz Jewelry before she was hired as a temporary secretary at Alpena High School. At once she fell in love with secondary education, and was reluctant to bid on an elementary school position when her one year at AHS was up.
"I absolutely loved secondary, but when I got to elementary I just thought, this is it," she said.
Haurgerud did a short 1 1/2 year stint as secretary of Lincoln Elementary, but returned to Wilson.
"For some reason, my heart's always been here," she said.
Haurgerud said working as a secretary is more than a job where she hands out Band-Aids and answers the phones. The position is more demanding and includes filing reports with the state and keeping detailed records as well as caring for the children. And a love for children is top priority for anyone working in the school system, especially Haurgerud.
"I love being with them, that's why I'm here," she said. "I firmly believe it doesn't matter what you do, it's how you do it. My job is to make these kids feel special and feel loved. They know they can always come to me and know I'll help them if they're sick or just need a hug."
Haurgerud said she has been secretary for so long that she helps the children of students past. She said it is a thrill when they come back to visit her, bringing with them engagement rings or ultra-sound pictures. Years later, students in their 20s will stop her in the grocery store to talk about the difference she made in their young lives.
"There's little things that they remember. That's when you know you made a lasting impression," Haurgerud said.
And Haurgerud remembers two very special school employees from her days as a school girl. She still remembers the names of her lunch lady and secretary at Sanborn Elementary how they made her feel safe and special at school.
"It doesn't matter how old they are, they will always remember how they were treated," Haurgerud said of students. "That's my mission, to make them feel loved."
Although interruptions are frequent in the office, with phones ringing, bloody noses, someone throwing up, among other things, Haurgerud thrives on multitasking and finds her job fulfilling.
"I have the best and most rewarding job in the world. There isn't a day that goes by I'm not thankful for it," she said.
Erika Fifelski can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5688.