Presta’s goodbye marked with tears, hugs, and Bulldogs

Administrative Assistant Lauren Presta and Assistant Principal John Passarella pose together on Prestas final day at RB.  Presta will be accepting another position in District 88.

Courtesy of Betty Sharp

Administrative Assistant Lauren Presta and Assistant Principal John Passarella pose together on Presta’s final day at RB. Presta will be accepting another position in District 88.

Katie Maxwell, Editor-in-Chief

It is the afternoon of August 27th, 2012, and Lauren Presta is preparing to hang up her security jacket for the last time. Presta has been the Administrative Assistant to the Assistant Principal of Student Affairs for a little more than seven years.

Though Presta agreed to be interviewed by the Clarion, it was her very first interview with any news publication.  In the past, she had never thought it was necessary. However, Presta agreed to this interview because she felt it is important for the community to know the reason behind her sudden departure.

In light of the school’s changing atmosphere, Presta began to wonder if it was time for her to also change. She explained that she had made the decision to leave on her own when she was offered the position of Administrative Assistant to the Superintendant and Board of Education for District 88, which includes Willowbrook and Addison Trail High Schools.

She said, “Seeing the changes here made me realize: maybe there is a change, maybe there is a change I want now. You know, I’ve been doing the same job for seven years. I loved what I did. I still love what I do. I knew I still wanted to stay in education, but when I saw this opportunity, I just said, ‘You know, it’d be a great one.’”

The position being offered helped draw her attention as well.  “This position I have taken does not come around often. It’s generally filled from within the building: there’s always someone wanting to move up the ladder. This particular district wasn’t the case,” she said.

The “icing on the cake” for Presta is that the superintendent, Dr. Scott Helton, will also be new to the position, although he has been in District 88 for a number of years.

Presta went on to explain that it is much easier to adjust to a new position like this when both the boss and assistant are new because together they can create their own method of accomplishing tasks rather than having the assistant adjust to the way the boss prefers things to be done or vice versa.

David Sibley, who stopped by to say goodbye to Presta, had wonderful things to say about Helton. He said, “ I went to college with him. He and I played football together. He’s a really good, nice guy.”

Sibley also explained that Helton coached Assistant Dean Neil Dughetti’s high school football team, knows former RB educators Troy Gobble and Jon Grice  and that RB modeled programs after programs Helton implemented as principal of Addison Trail High School.

Sibley wasn’t the only one to wish Presta good luck. All over her desk and on its walls were hand written notes, balloons, multiple “One Terrific Bulldog” bulldog toys, and even a large, colorful sign hanging above it all. Teachers and students also stopped by to give her hugs.

It was obviously a very emotional day for everyone who works in the office. At one point, Presta even went behind closed doors to say goodbye to her friend and colleague Sherry Kocek. Meanwhile, John Passerella sat down in Presta’s chair, leaned back, and contemplated how different it would be without her. He had tears in his eyes.

Administrative Assistant Betty Sharp said, “It’s going to be weird without her. She’s fantastic: a real team player.”

Replacing Presta will be Tammy Mollo.  Mollo began work earlier this week.