Cancer Survivor Celebrates A Decade of Smiles and Organization at the Front Desk
“Behind every great man there’s a great woman,” was first printed in a Texas newspaper in 1946 when Meryll Frost, the ‘Most courageous athlete of 1945’ was quoted as he received his trophy. The plucky quarterback unfolded the story of how he 'came back,’ and Is quoted: “They say behind every great man there's a woman. While I'm not a great man, there's a great woman behind me.'"
Sandy Marie Walkley would shy away from this analogy, for two reasons: first, because she “backs” a fellow female, Principal Rachel Dzurello, and second, because she doesn’t see herself as anything so special.
But the people she works with knows she is.
Ten years working at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School, Sandy is considered a superhero by most.
“I don’t know how I could run this school without her,” Principal Dzurillo admits. “She’s willing to do whatever is needed, and she does it with a smile!”
“She’s incredibly bubbly,” Business Manager Carolyn Campos says, who works in the office right next to Sandy. “I helped interview her for her job years ago, and I loved her right away!”
Call her Super Sandy or Sweet Sandy, she’s amazingly organized and always ready to help parents, students, teachers and Principal Dzurillo. Sandy came to the school ten years ago, as a volunteer, working in the clinic. Her son was a 3rd grader and she thought it would be nice to be near him during the day.
“So, I worked here that first year as a volunteer. I loved it! And then the secretary told me she was leaving at the end of the school year, and I should apply for her job.” She did, and she’s been behind the front desk ever since. She admits she loves the job because, she says simply, “I like to help.”
An avid cyclist, she met her husband when they were just 12 years old. They became high school sweethearts, but each married someone else after graduation from South Grand Prairie High School. Neither marriage lasted more than a few years, with Sandy admitting that getting married at 17 “is just too young.” But the two got back together and have been married 32 years.
You’d never know the couple had a rough start. As they were vacationing early in
their marriage, and riding on a tandem bike, the brakes went out and they hurdled down a road, crashing as they rounded a curve at full speed. David took the brunt of the crash, and landed hard, putting him in the hospital in a coma for three weeks. A traumatic brain injury meant he needed six months of rehab when he came out of his coma, and he’s been on long term disability since.
Sandy never left is side and says with a smile, “I have the sweetest house-husband you can imagine.”
They waited for David to recover to have children, and son Curtis arrived in 1998. He’s a freshman in Arkansas now, studying engineering.
Sandy came from a big family, so Curtis grew up with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins. The fourth child in a family of 10, Sandy explains, “Four boys and six girls, and yes, it was loud in the house—and still is at Christmas when we all get together.”
“Together” is a word that means a lot to Sandy: it describes her amazing organizational abilities, and how she likes to work: together with her Principal, business manager, faculty, parents and students.
And it describes her personal courageous come back, much like Meryll Frost.
Last August she had what she describes as “a little bout with Cancer,” and because it was caught early, she’s back to work today. Two rounds of Chemo and 28 of radiation cured her of the stage 1 Cancer, but she was out of the office from August 15 through December first. The people she loved worked together to keep the school running smoothly while she healed at home.
Looking at her smile and hearing her bubbly laugh, you’d never guess she’d been sick. And that’s just the way Super Sandy wants it. She’d rather be bubbly and efficient behind the scenes, making her Principal’s job easier, and keeping her school running smoothly.
After all, behind every great school is a great woman—or a super hero.
You can meet Sandy at the Open House on February 8, 2017. St. Elizabeth Of Hungary Catholic School at the Open House from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 8, 2017. The school has classes from pre-k3 to 8th grade. The public is invited to come tour the school and meet the exceptional faculty and staff. For more information, see the school’s website www.saintspride.com
For more information contact Sandy Walkley firstname.lastname@example.org
(214) 331-5139 x21
Or Carolyn Campos, Business Manager, email@example.com
(214) 331-5139 x23
Judy Porter writes about local heroes and businesses. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org