by Lisa Tome
Steve Myers and Fran Woll knew Chip Helm years before he took over as principal at Perryville High School.
The pair both worked at the school when Helm was a student there.
With a combined 80 years of service, the two are among Cecil County Public Schools longest serving employees. Myers is Perryville High's head custodian. Woll works in the school cafeteria. Neither has plans to retire anytime soon.
"My first year, I started as a permanent sub. And now it's 35 years. I've been here ever since the school was here. I've served three generations of the same family," said Woll.
Numerous times during her 35 years with the system, Woll has been offered promotions. She has declined them every time.
She enjoys her roll as a kitchen assistant. She can't remember how much lunch cost when she started, but she does know it was significantly less than the $2.60 students pay now.
"I love it. I love kids. I especially love the special ed. kids," said Woll. "I love it here. I'm part of the building. I say to people that they built the school around me."
But Woll admits that while she has worked in the building since 1977, she doesn't know her way around. She said her work area has been limited to the first floor cafeteria. She said if she had to go to the second floor, she'd be lost.
But while Woll's building lay out knowledge is limited, Myers knows every inch of the school.
Myers started in the school system when he was a student at Elkton High.
"I was in high school. I wanted to buy a car," said Myers.
He started working for the school system as a custodian at Cherry Hill Middle in 1968. In September of 1969, he was assigned to work at Kenmore Elementary (the current Providence School building). Five years later, in 1974, Myers got a job assignment which changed his life. He moved to the head custodian post at Perryville Elementary School. It was there that he met Becky, the school secretary, who would later become his wife.
In 1979, he was assigned to Perryville Middle. After three years there, he went to North East Middle. In 1985, he began working at Perryville High. In 1991, he was named head custodian.
"I like coming to work. The kids like me and I like everything else," said Myers. "But I feel old. The principal was a student here. He was here and the next thing you know, he was principal."
Myers likes helping out on the grounds. He said he enjoys mowing grass and plowing snow - both duties are assigned to the building's groundskeeper.
"Keeping this building running is a challenge - all the equipment and everything. Everybody here is nice to me. The faculty is good to me. The kids are good to me. I'm trying to go 50 years. The way things are now, nobody can retire anymore," he added.
Myers and Woll are just two of the Cecil County Public Schools staffers who were honored on Tuesday, November 12 during a Service Gala to honor 30, 35, 40, and 45-year employees of the system. Others honored are:
45 years - Delbert Jackson and Robert Giraldi, Jr. both of whom work at the Carver Center (Board of Education offices).
40 years - Marsha Burnett Elkton High, Edward Herr Plant Facilities, Betty Grooms-Baker Rising Sun Middle, Paul Humphrey Calvert Elementary, Barbara Lort Bohemia Manor High, Charlene Powels Perryville Elementary
35 years - Lois Anderson School of Technology, David Bailey Plant Facilities, Vincent Cariello Carver Center, Sally Green Rising Sun Elementary, Karen Hartranft Holly Hall Elementary, Barry Jack Conowingo Elementary, Andrea Keen Calvert Elementary, Nancy Mayfield Elkton High, Robert Patterson Holly Hall Elementary, Michael Schmook Carver Center, Patricia Taylor Carver Center, and Michael Weaver Plant Facilities
30 years - Barbara Balog Elk Neck Elementary, Stella Bolt Rising Sun Elementary, Mark Brown Carver Center, David Caldwell School of Technology, Kenneth Dilks Plant Facilities, Judith Fletcher Cecilton Elementary, Anne Gellrich Rising Sun High, Barbara Heath Elkton Middle, Paula Kuenzle Charlestown Elementary, Beth Moore Holly Hall Elementary, Berkeley Orr, Jr. Cherry Hill Middle, Donald Shaffer North East High, Ellwood Warren, Jr. Plant Facilities, and William Whitten, Jr. Plant Facilities.