Amid the hubbub of a typical lunch period at Glens Falls High School, something a little less typical can usually be heard from one corner of the cafeteria: singing and snapping.
“She likes ‘I will Survive,’” giggles a group of seniors who join in as cafeteria monitor Mary Condon walks over with a smile. “Ms. Mary,” as she’s known, has a rapport with students that’s nearly unmatched.
“You know when she’s being serious,” says senior Patience Abare. “You can tell her joking from her not-joking, and it will silence the whole cafeteria.”
“I make sure the kids don’t get out of line being disrespectful,” Ms. Mary says. “I try and maintain peace in the lunchroom. It’s hard, but sometimes it’s worth it.”
“The rewarding part of my job is seeing them graduate, and seeing them grow into adults,” she says. “I give kids advice from my own personal experience to help them make better choices. Day to day, I deal with families, teachers, coaches, and kids. I love it.”
Overseeing four lunch periods with good humor and no nonsense is job enough for most people. But Ms. Mary’s day often starts before many of our alarm clocks begin to buzz. As clerk at the bus garage, she handles transportation for students with special needs, sports teams, fieldtrips, homeless students, and those in foster care.
“Depending on what needs or issues weigh heavy on her mind, Mary sometimes arrives at the bus garage hours before any other employee,” says facilities and transportation director Ken Chester. “She ensures that our district’s transportation department runs smoothly for both staff and students.”
“Her compassion for children drives her to always look for the best possible solution to any problem,” Mr. Chester continues. “Mary can often be seen riding a bus when students are having a tough time. Her wonderful way of dealing with children is a personality trait that just cannot be taught!”
Ms. Mary has worked at Glens Falls schools for nearly 22 years, having graduated from GFHS. “Her humor and wit are valued among her co-workers and go a long way to diffuse stressful situations,” says Mr. Chester. “Employees like Mary are few and far between: loyal, hard-working, and honest.”
Outside of her service in the bus garage and cafeteria, Ms. Mary enjoys watching her grandchildren’s sports and school activities. And who knows—maybe a campaign is in her future as well. “Ms. Mary for President!!” cheer her table full of singing buddies in the lunchroom.