Lucia, Carlos Gonzales say farewell to Manhattan High

Meredith Comas, Opinions Editor

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Carlos and Lucia Gonzales have been the faces of Manhattan High East campus for years. But, it seems as if it is time for MHS to say farewell to the couple and their duties as East campus secretary and security guard. Lucia will work her last day at MHS this Wednesday and Carlos will be retiring this coming May.  

Lucia, East campus secretary, has been the face of the East campus office and voice behind the telephones for years. Memories and stories of a “staff family” rolled off Lucia’s tongue when talking about her 24 years at MHS. She was nothing but smiles while reflecting back on her time at MHS while at the monthly staff potluck.

“[MHS] is like a family to me,” Lucia said. “All of [the staff], in the 24 years I’ve been here, have been like family to me. I feel like their mother now because they’re so young… I remember when I started I was…. one of the youngest ones and now I’m one of the older ones.”

Lucia started her secretary duties with an office staff, but has been doing the job solo for 18 years due to downsizing. She remains grateful to the MHS staff for always lending a helping hand.

“[I’ll miss] just working with the staff, the staff here at East campus are wonderful… I’ve been doing this by myself for about 18 years and the staff would come in, the teachers would come in, and hear the phones ringing… they would answer the phones for me, take messages,” Lucia said. “That was wonderful because I couldn’t get to all of it at one time.”

The building has become a home of sorts for Lucia, offering a chance to help students find their place and a warm work environment.

“It’s an amazing place to work in, the East campus, it’s such an old building you know and I feel… at home here,” Lucia said. “The students… we get ‘em one year and then they move on to the West… I feel that at the ninth grade center we’re able to help out the students because they don’t know where they belong, if they belong in middle school or in high school… this is a good transition for them. That’s what I enjoy.”

Lucia’s husband, Carlos, runs security at East. He has been on the job for 14 and a half years, creating bonds with students every year.

“He doesn’t know anybody’s name, but he knows every kid,” East campus administrator Dave Holloway said. “And they trust him. From day one they trust him.”

Carlos has been rumored to retire multiple times, but each time he came back for another year. This year, though, the couple plans to retire together to pursue a life of adventure.  

“[Lucia and I are] going to try and get an RV and we are going to travel,” Carlos said.  

Overall, the couple has made a lasting impact on MHS, and in return MHS has made an impact on them, with memories filled with joy.

““The highlight of working here has been working with Carlos for 16 years,” Lucia said.

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