On a typical school day, anyone can see security officer Ms. Samara Anderson at her new desk at the front entrance or walking the hallways, or hear her announcing “get to class” and laughing with students.
“Being at [Ann Richards] was my first time being at an all-girls school, so it was different, but within a few weeks it was the best,” Ms. Anderson said. “I knew this was it for me.”
Ms. Anderson began working for ARS in 2012, when the current seniors (the Class of 2018) were sixth graders.
“It’s bittersweet because I’ve kind of grown a bond to them, since that was my first group; I watched them grow, I watched them learn, and fall, and get back up, and dust themselves off again,” Ms. Anderson said. “I’m really excited to see what’s next for them. I love when the alumni come back, so I’m ready for that next chapter, so when it’s their turn to come back and I get to have my big hugs. Like I said, it’s bittersweet, and I will definitely miss them.”
As the class of 2018 is getting older and closer to graduation, they read the Canterbury Tales in their english class and are tasked with writing their own poems about characters at ARS using the same structure. Keira Neal (12) has been friends with Ms. Anderson years and chose to write her Canterbury Tales poem about her.
“She’s the kind of person that gives you a reason to want to come to school, other than learning and going to college,” Neal said. “She tells you those things to look forward to, like a future.”
Ms. Anderson has been looking forward to her desk in the hallway for a while. Apparently, her and the rest of the office staff joked about a desk in the hallway for about a year, and then Waugh moved forward with the idea when Goka retired because she thought it was a genuinely good idea.
“I get to see family members that come in, and I’m the first person they see,” Ms. Anderson said. “I have a big job to make sure they feel welcome, and that I’m always smiling and I’m here.”
Not only is she the first face people see when they walk in, but she is also a support-system for the students, a friend to faculty, and a school cop. Ms. Waugh loves that the first face for guests, students, and staff to see is the vibrant, always-smiling, Ms. Anderson.
“Ms. Anderson is our ‘do-everything,’” Ms. Waugh said. “I trust her explicitly. She knows everything that’s going on and she has the best judgement of how to handle things, and I think that she’s highly respected amongst the faulty and the students.”
The desk at the front of the school, according to Ms. Anderson, is kind of the physical manifestation of what her job has always been.
“I’ve always felt a responsibility to make sure the girls were on task – doing what they needed to be doing – but also have someone they can talk to and trust and come to when they need something,” Ms. Anderson said. “It could’ve been a piece of paper, candy, a smile, a hug, or just a conversation.”