Secretary Elaine Downs Retires

By Daniel Bodden

The pick-ups in the main office, the pledge of allegiance, the announcements — for years, they have alldowns been broadcasted over the intercom by the familiar voice of main office secretary Elaine Downs. But, after 13 years, at age 73, Downs will retire.

“It’s going to be really difficult,” Downs said. “They’re your family, you see them almost every day and now you’re not going to see them anymore. It’s tough.”

From Downs’ candy bowl to her stash of plastic bags for parents who bring dirty shoes for their students to her desk lined with handwritten reminders, there is not much Downs isn’t ready for. In her tenure as the main intercom voice, though, there were bound to be a few mistakes.

“One time, I messed up the Pledge of Allegiance two weeks in a row,” Downs said. She now has a cheat sheet with the pledge of allegiance printed on it.

She has developed a strong connection with the student office workers, including senior Sherese Melvin.

“Ms. Downs is one of the sweetest ladies that I work with,” Melvin said. “She’s nice and caring. I’ll miss her next year.”

According to Attendance Secretary Marlene Wilcoxen, Downs also has a lot of school spirit and is a huge fan of softball and wrestling. Although known for her Texas sheet cake in the main office, her fan favorite in the hospitality room at wrestling meets is biscuits and gravy.

“She made it by the bucketful,” Wilcoxen said. “We’re talking mass quantities. Everyone looked forward to that. It’s legendary.”

With five kids, 11 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren, and a marriage that is 55 years strong, Downs feels now is her time to enjoy the retirement life.

“The hardest part of my job is going to be leaving,” Downs said. “I better have a box of Kleenex with me. It’s been great. A great school, great people, great kids.”