The unseen support of NUHS

Though Mrs. Clark’s job title is librarian, she takes her role a step further than that.
Super selfie: Isabelle and Paula
Super selfie: Isabelle and Paula

There are plenty of people in the high school whose job is to support the students – counselors, coaches, teachers, paras, and more. Librarians, however, aren’t usually included in that list.

Though supporting students isn’t in her job description, Mrs. Clark says it’s her favorite part of her job. “I think my unique place at NUHS is to try to develop relationships with all the students. I try to encourage everybody. There’s some students that are like ‘Last night I had detention. I was talking to my dad and I don’t even think I’m gonna graduate.’ I’m like ‘No, you have to graduate! You have no idea what that diploma means and walking on stage and getting that piece of paper.’

I’m like ‘No, you have to graduate! You have no idea what that diploma means and walking on stage and getting that piece of paper.

— Mrs. Clark

And it’s hard, you have to motivate a student to see the future without a diploma versus with. I even said ‘You go to school 170 days.’ ‘Oh. Is that all?’ I go ‘That’s all. You have to graduate.’ So I don’t know, I’d say trying to encourage each student in life, like what are you guys going to do? I always try to ask the seniors, ‘What are you doing next year?’ ‘Oh I’m just going to work’ and I’m like ‘That’s awesome!’ You don’t have to know what you want to do, I don’t even know what I want to do! And I’m old!” Mrs. Clark said.

Mrs. Clark went on to ask us where we were going to college and share encouraging stories of her own, but you’ll have to talk to her yourself if you want to hear them. I will, however, share with you her love for Boo Bouie:

Mrs. Clark: Oh, you’re going to Northwestern? Oh! That’s in Evanston. I’ve been there. It’s a beautiful campus. They have Boo Bouie!

Leanna Brown: Is that somebody’s name?

Mrs. Clark: Boo Bouie! He is so good at basketball! You have to get me his autograph.

Mrs. Clark also said she hears a lot of things when students don’t think she’s listening:

Mrs. Clark: I’m hard of hearing, like Mr. Engeldinger, but I do. And I don’t want to hear some stories. And I just ignore it and tell them they have to get back to class. 

Isabelle Fuhr: Do you have any gossip for us?

Mrs. Clark: Like, at the moment, or — how about from previous years? I do hear a lot of gossip from students and teachers.

Isabelle Fuhr: You’re always up to date?

Mrs. Clark: You want to hear the, um, spill the tea? That’s what I was told it was, spill the tea. No. Maybe after you graduate. You have perks after you graduate. But, no, I do hear a lot of stuff. But that’s with any job, the teachers hear a lot of things.

Mrs. Clark talking with a para in the library. (Isabelle Fuhr)

Mrs. Clark chats with everyone like they’re her friends, fostering a warm, welcoming environment in the library. During our interview, students walked in to the library needing headphones or wanting to sit and talk during an open hour, and she knew every one of their names and could guess what they wanted before they even asked. This welcoming environment doesn’t stop with Mrs. Clark. During our interview, Mr. Bute came out of his room at the back of the library:

Mr. Bute: Hey Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Doo, what are you doing?

Leanna Brown: Having a chat.

Isabelle Fuhr: Interviewing! 

Mr. Bute: Oh! What are you finding out? Paula is the brains and the center of what’s going on at New Ulm High School. If you want to know the gossip, you just come right up here.

Mrs. Clark: Nope- 

Isabelle Fuhr: I asked her about it!

Leanna Brown: She refused! 

Mrs. Clark: I want to keep my job! 

Mr. Bute: If I want to hear things, I just keep my door cracked open.

Mrs. Clark then asked more about our college plans and said her goodbyes:

Paula: Oh, I’m so happy for you two. I’m glad. Come stop by again!

Leanna Brown: Oh, we will. Don’t worry!

We know we cherished our conversation with Mrs. Clark, and I’m willing to bet you will, too. Beware, though, she has her limits: “You don’t have any overdue books from here? Good. I get angry when there’s overdue books,” she warned.



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