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An Interesting Neighbor

Everyone has a story

John D. Montgomery
Posted 2/9/23

The secretary at the elementary school is like being a surrogate mother to 415 kids in pre-K through the second grade.

The challenge for Jackie Suchy, who has worked for Purcell Schools for 32 …

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An Interesting Neighbor

Everyone has a story


The secretary at the elementary school is like being a surrogate mother to 415 kids in pre-K through the second grade.

The challenge for Jackie Suchy, who has worked for Purcell Schools for 32 years, is “loving the kids and taking care of the kids but knowing at the end of the day they are not mine,” she said.

“It’s very gratifying,” Mrs. Suchy said. “We went downtown to a homecoming parade and Mark (her husband of 42 years and high school sweetheart) said all the kids know your name.

“I’ve been blessed,” she continued. “I couldn’t think of anything I could have done that would be more gratifying.”

The 1979 Purcell High School graduate was dropping their daughter, Carlee, off for her first day of kindergarten when principal Pat Frankenberg came walking up to her car.

Pat told Jackie she was going to be needing a secretary and would she be interested.

The timing was impeccable.

“I had just been thinking, now that Carlee is going to school I need to get a job,” Suchy recalled of that August day back in 1991.

So Carlee started school the same week Jackie went to work there.

Frankenberg taught Jackie in first grade so they had a history.

“I just loved Pat Frankenberg,” Jackie says with a big smile. “Her son Glen was a family friend and was in our wedding and I got to work with Lori when she taught at our building.”

Suchy started off as the school nurse, the job Robin Sheehy has now, and worked in the lunch program and did some secretary duties as a receptionist.

Long-time secretary Angie Wallace retired in 2009 and that’s when Suchy took over the reins of the elementary school office.

In addition to Frankenberg, Suchy has worked for Sherry Davis, Tammy Dillard and now Cindy Stone.

Suchy served as school nurse for nine years and put in six-year stint in the administration building before taking over for Wallace.

The bonds she makes with students goes far beyond elementary school.

“I was in Jo’s Pizza one night and Scott Roundtree (a 2000 PHS graduate) came up to me with a confession. He told me he used to pretend to be sick so he could come into her office.

“I told Scott, yeah I was on to you.”

That was back when the elementary went through fifth grade.

Among those in the fifth grade that year include former PES teacher David Tarp, Terri Reimer and current Purcell teacher and city councilwoman Theda Engert.

“It’s fun watching kids grow up and become adults,” Suchy said. “I’m working on several second generations of families and probably not too far from some third generations.”

Among those are Engert and her children.

Times have changed over the years. Back in the day Suchy would give out things like Tylenol and such to students.

Not today.

“We can’t even give anyone an aspirin. The only medication we can give is prescriptions with their name on the bottle and the dosage,” Suchy reported.

Over the course of her career Suchy recalled some of the more trying moments and some lighter ones as well.

“One of the more trying times was just as we were dismissing at 3 p.m. the tornado sirens went off. (Then principal) Tammy (Dillard) made a great call. We got all the kids back into the building. All the floors were slick from rain water off the students’ feet.

“People were sliding all over the place trying to make sure their kids were safe,” she said of the 2015 incident.

“One time a boy fell out of his chair onto his pencil. He had to go to the hospital because where it went in was very close to a vein.”

And there have been numerous instances of rocks off the playground making their way into ears and noses.

“We’ve had pretty good success getting them out and only a few times had to call parents. The kids never fess up to putting the rocks where they shouldn’t. They always say I don’t know how that got in there.”

It still tickles her heart to see a former student out in the community.

“It makes your heart happy. They go through stages. Sometimes they don’t come around and then they come back to talk to me.”

It’s been a rewarding career and one that continues as she serves the students of Purcell Elementary.


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