Much-loved CMS secretary set to retire after 12 years

Will Hogue

CULLMAN – After 12 years on the job, Cullman Middle School Secretary Wanda Edge is retiring from her position at CMS.

Edge said she knew it was time to call it quits when she looked forward to going home more than she ever had.

“You really have to have a lot of energy to do this job, and when I go home at the end of the day and all I can think about is taking a hot bath and going to bed, that’s when you know it’s time to quit,” Edge said.

Edge said she never aspired to be a secretary, but instead just took the job simply because it was open.            

“I was the head-cataloguer at the Cullman County Library,” Edge said. “The (Middle School Secretary) job became available. I guess I was looking for something bigger and better, and this is where I wound up.”

Even though being a secretary was perhaps never a dream of hers, Edge stumbled into a fulfilling vocation.

“Well, naturally I can’t give any names,” she said. “But, when the first kid comes in and hugs your neck, and says, ‘thank you for what you did,’ that makes it all worth it.”

Edge said she was very much underprepared for the position when she started her first day on the job.

“The lady that had the position before me told me when I was training for the job that if I knew how to check kids in and check them out, that it would be a breeze,” she said. “Words have never been so false.”

Edge is too humble to say that she herself is the glue that holds the school together, but she described her secretary’s desk as the hub around which the school revolves; and, as is the case of most schools around the country, she’s correct.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m caught in a whirlwind, to tell you the truth,” she said about the buzz of activity that goes on around her desk and office.

Edge’s least favorite thing about being the secretary at Cullman Middle School is having to be bureaucratic about policies with children.

“I don’t like having to fuss at a kid because they haven’t brought in an excuse, when I know that that child has more to worry about at home than bringing in a piece of paper,” she said.

Edge said, while her favorite thing about the past 12 years of serving as the secretary is the comradery within the faculty and the familial nature of the staff, nothing beats the surprising students who come back and make something of themselves.

“That hug that you get, especially the ones – the boys – that you think are probably going to wind up in prison, they come back and they’re in their Marine dress-blues,” she said. “Now that will tug at your heart strings.”

She said that she plans on going back to the library part-time, and looks forward to being a grandmother, pursuing a new-found love of painting and doing what she wants to do when she wants to do it.

Edge, an alumna of Cullman Middle School, has some advice for whomever might take her position.

“Just be kind to them, and be patient; the teachers, the parents that might come in and the students. And be patient with the next secretary that might come in here. Remember that they’re just one person,” Edge said.