Little Things Add Up for Jeanne Sauvé Secretary
Leanne Labiuk lives by the philosophy that the little things mean so much.
The long-time secretary for one of St. Catharines’ two French Immersion elementary schools has made a career of doing what she can to brighten the day of every student and staff member she comes in contact with.
“The office is a happy, positive place,” smiles Labiuk.
It certainly is.
A hive of activity, the school office is painted beautifully in Jeanne Sauvé’s signature bold red and blue colours.
It features vibrant pieces of student artwork and a couch for weary feet.
“When I was younger, the office was a scary place. But now, students are excited to visit,” says Labiuk.
Part of the reason students enjoy visiting the office is the opportunity to speak to another trusted adult at the school.
“I’m that warm and fuzzy person they can come and talk to anytime.”
As the school secretary, Labiuk is directly connected to students’ home life.
She’s regularly on the phone with parents discussing absences and other issues in students’ lives.
Parents often share very intensely personal information with her about their children’s circumstances and that knowledge helps Labiuk relate to students at the school.
“They (students) confide in you. It’s like you’re their school mom,” says Labiuk.
“We deal with a lot of heavy, emotional stuff, so we try to make the office a positive place for students.”
Labiuk also does her share to make the whole school as positive and upbeat as the office.
Working with her principal, Robyn Scheubel, Labiuk’s been empowered to take on a number of different initiatives to support a positive school culture.
When students returned to Jeanne Sauvé in the fall, they found that the bathrooms had been painted with beautiful designs and inspirational messages.
For example, the girls’ bathroom has messages around the mirrors that say “You’re beautiful,” and “You’re strong.”
“It doesn’t take much effort, but the little things really add up,” says Labiuk.
Students have really taken notice of these little things which help to make their days brighter.
“That kids love it is the best reward there is,” smiles Labiuk.