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    • Leading Ladies of the Office
    • Leading Ladies of the Office
    • Leading Ladies of the Office

Leading Ladies of the Office

November 9, 2015

Piecing together a single school day requires the efforts from several different functions. Among these reign the most important: the school office. For most students, this part of the school remains uncharted territory. But if you’ve ever been late, sick, or in a little bit of trouble, chances are you’ve seen a few of the faces that make sure our school days run smoothly. Mrs. Lohaus, Mrs. Drew, Mrs. Suing, and Mrs. Hajek are just four of these people, who you’ve probably heard of, but never truly gotten to know. There’s more to these women than just sitting behind a desk and answering a phone, and their work basically keeps our school standing. These brief Q&A’s provide a slight insight to what these women do and a few interesting assets of their outside lives.

Mrs. Lohaus: The Wonderwoman of Skutt Catholic

Mrs. Lohaus: The Wonderwoman of Skutt Catholic

From math exams, to alumni events, to witnessing Mr. Engelkamp pierce his ear, this Skutt Catholic educator has seen it all

To say that solving an algebraic equation relates to planning a massive fundraising event is pretty absurd. However, these two concepts have one thing in common: Mrs. Lohaus.  From teaching in the math department to being one of the masterminds behind events such as Angel Flight, this lady has truly seen every side of Skutt Catholic. This past school year, she has transitioned from the classroom to the office. Although it may be peculiar to see her amongst the students less frequently, she still contributes to our environment behind the hidden lair that is the school office. Her seven years here have been nothing but memorable and her work here does not go unnoticed. Here is a brief look at the life of Mrs. Lohaus, as she talks about the office life, gardening, Hawaii, her dog, Snickers, and much, much more.   

Tell me a little about yourself:

“I was born and raised in Omaha, attending St. Bernard’s Elementary School, Roncalli Catholic High School, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for my Bachelor’s Degree and the College of Saint Mary’s for my Master’s Degree.  I have been married to my husband, Dan, for 25 years and we have 4 children (Ben-Age 23, Amy-Age 21, Renee-Age 19, and James-Age 17)”

How long have you been at Skutt Catholic?

“My first year at Skutt Catholic, I was hired as a Physics teacher for the 2009-2010 school year.  I moved to teach Mathematics here the following year and continued to teach math for the next 5 years, mostly Algebra 1 and Geometry.  This is my seventh year at Skutt Catholic.”

What did you do before coming here?

“Before coming to Skutt Catholic, I was a middle school reading teacher for Omaha Public Schools. Prior to becoming a teacher, I spent 18 years working in the credit card processing industry for First Data Corporation.  I began there as a Settlement Trainer, became an Operations Supervisor, and spent my last 12 years there as a Project Manager.”

What’s the biggest difference between when you started here and how things are now (technology, students)?

“Since I have only been at Skutt Catholic seven years, the differences I have seen since I started are probably not as drastic as some of those who have been here longer.  However, I have seen some changes in my time here.  The biggest change is in the use of cell phones.  Not that long ago, it was rare to see a student, teacher or staff member with a cell phone in the halls, not to mention the classroom.  Now it is hard to find someone who doesn’t have theirs with them at all times.”

How would staff and students at Skutt Catholic describe you?

“I hope my colleagues and students describe me as friendly, helpful, knowledgeable, hard-working, faithful, and fair.  These are the qualities I strive to live up to in my relationships with others.”

Could you tell me about a typical day in the office?

“It is interesting because when I was a teacher, I felt as if, even though teachers teach different subjects, for the most part the routine of our work days were all pretty similar.  In the office that is far from being true.  In the office, each staff member has a different role to play and, often, a very different set of responsibilities.  Ultimately the teachers and staff are all working towards the same Skutt Catholic mission, but we each have to do our part.  In the office as the Event Planning and Alumni Relations Coordinator, I spend a great deal of time interacting with people outside of the building, whether it is alumni, parents, past parents, vendors or other Skutt Catholic supporters.  I spend a good portion of my day on email and on the phone.  As I stated earlier, when I was teaching, the routine of my day was pretty much the same from one day to the next.  That has not been true for me since I have been working in the office.  From one day to the next, what I am working on can be very different.  For example, the past two days, Mrs. Neal, Mrs. Smith and myself have been cleaning out the second level of one of the outside shed building, where we store a lot of our supplies and decorations for the various events the Advancement Office is responsible for.  Tomorrow, I will be making punch for Sunday’s Open House.  The day after, I am planning to work on the alumni events calendar for 2016.”

What’s the craziest thing you can remember that’s happened while you’ve been at Skutt Catholic (something particularly memorable)?

“One of the craziest things I remember was when Mr. Engelkamp pierced his ear a few years back.  I don’t remember exactly what the bet was, but I think he promised the softball team, if they won state, he would pierce his ear.  Well, they won state and he kept good on his promise.”

What are some of your biggest pet peeves working in the office?

“One of the things I am not fond of with working in the office is the layout of the main office.  I like to interact with people and the floor plan of the office has everyone all “tucked away” in separate offices that open to one long hallway.  I would like to see a more open floor plan where offices opened into a shared central space.”

What are some of the most interesting excuses students give for being late?

“I don’t really work up front much so I don’t hear all the late excuses like Mrs. Suing and Mrs. Drew do.  They would probably have some really good ones to share.  I have just noticed that certain students have a habit of always being tardy and that is not a good habit to have.  I have a tendency to be late once in awhile for things and it really adds stress to your life.  It is much better to arrive early.  If habitual tardy students could learn to arrive in a more timely manner, it will save them years of stress and probably a few speeding tickets!”

What are your hobbies?

“I like to garden, cook and sew although if you asked me what I spend most of my time doing, it is probably just trying to keep up with my kids.”

If you could possess any one talent, what would it be?

“A talent I have also admired in others in the ability to sing well.  Music has a way of lifting your spirits, especially when you know the words and can sing along.  I enjoy all types of music and I love to have music playing while I am working, driving, cleaning, etc..  I sing along anyway, even though I can’t sing very well, especially when no one else is listening. I wish I had a beautiful voice and could confidently sing along even when others were around.”

Do you have any pets?

“We have a small dog, Snickers.  We picked him out from the Humane Society eight years ago. He is a mix between a Scottish Terrier and a Yorkshire Terrier.  He isn’t very big.  He weighs less than nine pounds.  We also have two aquariums at home with a variety of fish, including a couple of Angel Fish.”

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

“I really haven’t done a lot of traveling and none outside of the United States.  Probably, my favorite trip was going to Hawaii on our honeymoon.”

What’s one thing you haven’t done that you still want to?

“I would really like to do some overseas travel.  I also want to try one of those water jet packs.  They look like they would be a lot of fun.”

Mrs. Drew: The Helping Hero

Mrs. Drew: The Helping Hero

“Good morning, these are your announcements for Monday, November 9th.” This familiar voice we hear everyday at school belongs to Mrs. Drew. However, she’s not just the lady that reads announcements over the intercom or who bestows demerits if you’re running late. There’s far more to her life and job than may first meet the eye. Going on her fifteenth year at Skutt Catholic, her presence and contributions are pivotal to the smooth way things are run here at our school. She is often the first smiling face someone new to our school comes across or the first helpful voice somebody encounters on the phone. Not to mention, whatever question or issue you might have during your time here, she’s got your back. So, in order to better appreciate this unsung hero, here’s a little more information about Mrs. Drew and all that she does for our school on a continual daily basis.

Tell me a little about yourself.

“I was born and raised in Omaha, NE and went to Catholic grade and high school. I have two sons, two dogs, Lola and Woody, and have been married for almost 40 years to my husband, who was my tennis teacher when we met.”

How long have you been at Skutt Catholic?

“I started in 1998, left in 2006 to work for Special Olympics Nebraska, then came back in 2008 to the front office here at Skutt Catholic.”

What did you do before coming here?

“I was a hairdresser for 13 years, and worked for several small businesses throughout the years.”

What’s the biggest difference between when you started here and how things are now?

“Technology for sure…there were no cell phones, iPads, and social media.”

How would staff and students at Skutt describe you?

“Friendly, helpful, compassionate…. and sometimes crabby,” she said chuckling.

Could you tell me about a typical day in the office?

“Phones ringing, doors binging, students, parents and teachers in and out all day. Sometimes you need to drop what you are doing to tend to a ‘situation’.”

What are some of your biggest pet peeves working in the office?

“Rude people on the phone and students that are always late!”

What are some of the most interesting excuses students give for being late?

“The interesting ones usually involve animals, such as: ‘My dog would not go to the bathroom, so I could not leave until he did because I have to clean up after him.'”

What are your hobbies?

“Traveling, gardening, and taking care of my dogs and home.”

If you could possess any one talent, what would it be?

“I would love to be able to really sing well.”

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

“I LOVE Hawaii. I have been fortunate to go there six times, all to different islands.”

What’s one thing you haven’t done that you still want to?

“I can’t think of what I would like to do that I haven’t. I feel blessed that I have had the adventures I have had.”

Mrs. Suing: The Attendance Queen

A Q&A with one of Skutt's leading ladies.

If Skutt Catholic is a well oiled machine, then Mrs. Suing is the essential motor oil that keeps everything moving smoothly. If you’ve ever walked in late to school, you’ve met her, however chances are you haven’t gotten to know her. Luckily, you can get a head-start right now, as Mrs. Suing kindly took the time to answer a few questions. So next time you see the attendance queen of Skutt Catholic, tell her thank you for all she does for the school and for you.

How long have you been at Skutt Catholic?

“I am in my twenty-first year at Skutt Catholic.”

What did you do before coming here?

“I am a teacher by trade. I taught second grade and most recently before Skutt Catholic I taught pre-school.”

What’s the biggest difference between when you started here and how things are now?

“When I started I believe the entire school enrollment was somewhere around 130 kids. So, I would say that the enrollment that we now have is one of the biggest changes. And of course the use of iPads school wide is a huge change in technology from when I started 21 years ago.”

How would staff and students at Skutt Catholic describe you?

“I would hope they would describe me as a nice person and helpful.”

Could you tell me about a typical day in the office?

“A typical day for me starts about 6:40 when I arrive and open up the office, get the phones on and have things ready to roll. I answer tons of phone calls, and help many students in many different ways throughout the day. I greet visitors and delivery people as they come through our doors. Probably 3/4 of my time is spent working on attendance each day. I have certain tasks I am responsible for each day, but every day presents differently so there is never a dull moment or a boring day at my job.”

What’s the craziest thing you can remember that’s happened while you’ve been at Skutt Catholic?

“I have experienced some memorable moments and unfortunately they often had to do with Senior pranks. (Please seniors don’t get any ideas.) Lets just say they had to do with a small gaggle of geese and a flock of pigeons.”

What are some of your biggest pet peeves working in the office?

“I would say that my biggest pet peeve is when I am talking to someone and another person walks in and interrupts as though they were totally unaware that I was already speaking to someone else.”

What are some of the most interesting excuses students give for being late?

“My most interesting excuse ever was that this boy was late because ‘the cows got out!l and ironically it was legitimate because he lived in a rural area. Not an excuse one would normally expect working in a big city high school.”

What are your hobbies?

“I like to spend time with my family, especially watching Huskers games on Saturdays, read, walk, watch T.V., go to movies and spend time with my friends.”

If you could possess any one talent, what would it be?

“I don’t know that this would be considered a talent, but I always wish I could fix when someone is hurting or broken hearted. As some of the kids know (from their own experiences) I am a soft touch. I don’t like to see people feeling bad for whatever reason. I usually try to fix what ails you with a hug. Don’t know if it helps the kids feel better, but it makes me feel better!”

Do you have any pets?

“No pets!”

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to?

“I have been to a number of foreign countries, which was really awesome and amazing. But I would have to say that one of the trips I enjoyed the most was when I went to a Notre Dame game a couple of years ago. It was amazing. The whole campus is really something. We happened to be there on Game Day so we were up close and personal with the whole crew that has that program on TV each weekend. There is a tremendous amount of history and tradition that was so interesting to learn about. We had a student led tour so we had a personal touch and commentary that we really enjoyed.”

What’s one thing you haven’t done that you still want to?

“There are a lot of places in the United States that I would like to visit.”

Mrs. Hajek: The Guidance Office Guard

Photo by skuttcatholic.com

Mrs. Hajek: The Guidance Office Guard

Another unsung hero of Skutt Catholic is Mrs. Hajek, who works in the Guidance Office. You’ve most likely seen her helping students acquire passes for college visits or forgotten locker combinations. But there’s much more to her than just that, including an impressive travel log and a plethora of funny stories about students excuses for being late.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I am originally from California and my many siblings still live there.  I’ve been married for almost 25 years to Jerry.  We met in Germany when he was stationed there and I was teaching military dependents.  He is a retired army officer and works at Offutt Air Force Base as a civilian. We have a son, James, who graduated from Skutt Catholic in 2010 and is presently in graduate school at UNL.  Our lives have pretty much centered around James and his activities.  This is the first year in many years that he is not playing a sport, so not sure what we will do with ourselves, especially during basketball season.

How long have you been at Skutt Catholic?

This is my 4th year.

What did you do before coming here?

I was a stay-at-home mom, an army wife, a substitute teacher and many years ago taught 4th grade for several years in both California and Germany.

What’s the biggest difference between when you started here and how things are now?

The iPad program was introduced and we have a new database system.  The students are as great as ever.

How would staff and students at Skutt Catholic describe you?

Hopefully not as Mean, Old Mrs. Hajek.  But they might since I always yell at kids for signing up late for college visits–but give them a pass anyway.

Could you tell me about a typical day in the office?

I start the day by reading and answering emails, then look at the pile of stuff on my desk I didn’t get to yesterday.  In the meantime there might be a student who can’t open a locker or needs a book from the bookstore.  So my pile grows…

What’s the craziest thing you can remember that’s happened while you’ve been at Skutt Catholic?

It always cracks me up when kids come in mid year and say they forgot their locker combination.  Didn’t you use it yesterday? And the day before? And the day before that???  Two came in this week.  No names…

What are some of your biggest pet peeves working in the office?

I had to remove the tissue box from my desk because kids would grab a tissue and blow their nose right on top of me…

What are some of the most interesting excuses students give for being late? 

I had one brother/sister team come late (on a late start date)  because they were making poached eggs.  Might have been a good day to grab a granola bar instead…

What are your hobbies?

We like to golf, travel, go to movies and sporting events like Husker Football and KC Royals games.  And I’m in a book group.

If you could possess any one talent, what would it be?

I wish I could speak several languages.

What is your favorite place you’ve traveled to? 

We lived in Germany for several years and traveled a lot in Europe during that time.  Prague was probably my favorite city, but the Tuscany area was a very close second.

What’s one thing you haven’t done that you still want to?

Someday I want to go to Bora Bora and stay in one of those huts on the water.

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