Supplying the students
A glimpse into the life of school store staff members
January 11, 2017
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From inside the school store, Karin Wortham and Julie Puckett watch as the masses pass by in between class periods. Wortham and Puckett have been a part of the district for six and eight years respectively. Throughout the years, along with managing the store, they have been observers of the thousands of students that have passed through the halls.
“In all the years, it’s mostly the same,” Puckett said. “Nothing has changed too much. Seniors like to congregate right outside the store between classes, and it seems to be their place every year. It gives the underclassmen the chance to look forward to that. There’s never been any fights or problems.”
As someone who has a front row seat to the interactions between students, Wortham has seen the benefits of having a small area for students, such as the commons.
“I think that the students are really fortunate to have an area that’s calm and relatively quiet when compared to larger schools,” Wortham said.
For the students passing by, they might be surprised at all the activity that takes place inside the store each day. Wortham and Puckett have many responsibilities. From shirts and books, to travel arrangements, to supplies in the classrooms, the school store also manages both the retail and budgeting side for the school’s clubs, classes, and extracurriculars.
“We manage the retail part so we watch the inventory in order to know what to reorder, come up with new designs, and that’s all for the retail part,” Puckett said. “We help different groups and clubs with their shirts such as homecoming shirts, powderpuff shirts, theater’s shirts for their productions, computer science club shirts, Spanish club shirts, all of that. We order books for classes when there is required reading. Often times, there is a specific version they want and we always offer that. We also do letter jackets. We handle the ordering for varsity clubs and sports as well as the patches.”
While managing the school store is no small task, Puckett and Wortham’s duties also include budgeting and managing expenses.
“For the budgeting part, we do purchasing for the teachers when they need things, we help with traveling and expenses, reservations, and we help with the buses,” Wortham said. ”Any times there are special events we help with collecting money, we help with homecoming, prom, and other dances. We help with student activities. We collect fees for classes. Basically anything to do with money. Teachers don’t have to hold onto money, and the students can just bring all their money to us and we’ll take care of it.”
For a teacher like Homa Lewis, who teaches AP Human Geography, sponsors the mock trial team, and goes to many educational conferences over the summer, the school store is an invaluable resource.
“The ladies of the school store are very knowledgeable about how things work in Lovejoy,” Lewis said. “They help every year with the ordering of the HuGAP shirts. They take care of the registration of the mock trial team. They handle the logistics of the conferences I have attended during the summer. They answer all of my questions.”
Because of their years of working together, Wortham and Puckett have developed a strong sense of teamwork to accomplish the numerous tasks given to them.
“We work together on Monday, Wednesday, Friday,” Puckett said. “Mrs. Wortham is here on Tuesday and I’m here on Thursday. It helps us keep up with everything going on. I do most of the budgeting part of our job and I help with financing all the various things that classes and clubs have to do.”
While Puckett does the budgeting, Wortham focuses on the retail responsibilities of the store.
“I enjoy managing the retail part of our job most,” Wortham said. “Since Mrs. Puckett likes the numbers more than I do and I like the retail, it creates a good balance to help us get everything that we need to do done.”
The location of the school store is a sort of central hub for the school where students, teachers, and even people from outside the school can come for various needs.
“It’s like the heart of the school,” Wortham said. “We make sure we’re here to serve the students, teachers, and community as best as we can.”