Editor’s Note – Five longtime classroom and office educators will retire from Cardinal Gibbons next month. We thank them for their dedication and the impact they have each made on the lives of our students and on the entire school community. We wish them the best as they start a new journey in their lives. For each of the next five days, we will post a story about one of our retiring educators. Our second story is about College Counseling Administrative Assistant Susan Sauls, who is retiring after 30 years of service.
“It has kept me young at heart,” says Susan Sauls. That simple phrase defines Susan’s three-decade-long career at Cardinal Gibbons, which she will exchange for retirement at the end of this school year.
First as the front office receptionist then as administrative assistant in the College Counseling Department, Susan is likely one of the first people visitors encounter when they enter Gibbons. Always ready with a smile and kind word, not to mention a bowl of candy, she is the school’s goodwill ambassador, welcoming each student, educator, and parent, and sharing our mission.
Her strong belief in Catholic education is what drew Susan to Gibbons, then located on Western Blvd. She remembers the campus as “homey despite the trailers,” and the school as “small, like a family.”
Registrar Annette Jay, who has worked with Susan for 30 years, adds: “In the 1980s the office consisted of a principal, an administrative assistant, and a receptionist... So, Susan and I worked closely in keeping things going.”
For Susan that meant handling admissions, attendance, and marketing duties in addition to her responsibilities as receptionist. Finding fulfillment in each job, along with her strong devotion to her faith and to the school community, is what has kept her at Gibbons.
“I like the people I met here, that I can walk to the chapel to attend Mass, and I can ask anyone to do anything and they will do it without hesitation,” she notes and adds, “that’s teamwork.”
In three decades Susan certainly has witnessed her share of changes, watched her two sons graduate from Gibbons, and lived through the school’s relocation to Edwards Mill Rd, where it grew into “a bigger family,” she says. She counts among her fondest memories working with the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, NY, who served Gibbons from 1994-2006.
“Brother Michel’s office was just outside the reception desk and he’d drive Susan to distraction on days when he played his music - Elvis, Beatles, Bach - very loudly with no consideration of her taking phone calls etc.,” recalls Annette. “She loved him anyway!”
As for her greatest joy, Susan points to her work in the 1990s as president of the school’s chapter of the Legion of Mary. Recalling that time, she talks about visiting the current campus while the school was being built and, with 15 students in tow, burying small medals of the Blessed Virgin Mary around the building, so “She would protect our community,” Susan explains.
Looking back, what does she hope people will remember about her? “My candy dish,” she jokingly replies. On a serious note, she adds: “Hopefully, people will remember that I have been pleasant and easy to work with and a silent witness to our faith.”
Read the first story in the series about English Educator Catherine Sokash, who is retiring after 35 years of service to Cardinal Gibbons High School.