The Office: Right Wing

A short peek into the lives of the attendance technician, financial specialist and AP secretary.

Joseph Roan

Attendance technician Joseph Roan describes how he juggles his job and outside activities as well as his experiences before he came to MV.

By Ananya Bhat and Katerina Pappas

He’s the first face students look for as they run into the office to resignedly get a tardy slip, cursing themselves for being late. He’s the last face students see as their parents sign them out for the dreaded dentist appointment or the pounding headache they have. Everyday, attendance technician Joseph Roan is in charge of one, fairly obvious, task — attendance. But there is much more to his job and life than meets the eye. Listen to the podcast below to hear what Roan’s life is like outside of school, his experiences at other schools and how.

Calvin Wong

Mr. Wong explains his responsibilities as MVHS specialist and varsity boys basketball team head coach.

By Sarah Young

Before the sun even rises, financial specialist Calvin Wong has set off for work, arriving at his desk at 6:50 to begin his day. Wong manages student finances, including MVHS’ clubs and their activities. He also handles the finances for PSAT sign ups and AP testing. Alongside his job as financial specialist, Wong acts as the head coach for the boys varsity basketball team.

Wong had been offered the position of financial specialist at MVHS earlier, shortly after he’d begun college. However, he declined the offer as his eyes were set for school, where he intended to get his business administration degree. Wong had originally planned for a career in the hospitality industry rather than education, but his love for sports changed that.

“I was very interested in coaching basketball and the easiest place to coach basketball is at a school because when you get off of work you go to practice,” Wong said. “So it’s very simple compared to a nine to five job, where you may have to ask for time off early and whatnot.”

As a child, Wong had an interest in sports, particularly basketball. Although he didn’t have the affinity for it, his love for sports did not change.

“Unfortunately I wasn’t very athletic or talented in the sport,” Wong said. “I actually played soccer in middle school and a little bit of high school, but by the time I hit high school players were more athletic and skilled then where I was, but I still enjoyed sports in general and especially basketball, where I wanted to learn more about the game not just playing it casually with my friends.”

As the varsity boys basketball’s head coach, Wong holds a great deal of responsibilities. Wong hosts voluntary activities for the varsity boys basketball team during the summer, and, after school starts, the team begins some voluntary work outs and open gym time where they get to have free play. Towards the end of October to the beginning of November, when the official season begins, Wong holds tryouts and practices.

“By the end of November we start our pre-season games, and then by January when we come back from holiday break we have our league play,” Wong said. “That goes to about mid February and then if we make play-offs we’ll play another game if we don’t then we’ll have our end of the year banquet and then say congrats to the seniors for putting in their hard work.”

The team takes a break during spring due to testing, but the voluntary practices begin in the summer, and the cycle repeats. The dual responsibilities of his office job and head coaching job leave Wong with little free time, especially during basketball season, but he feels that the long days are worth it.

“It’s long days but it’s very well worth it just to see the kids complete, kids get better, have them learn different skills working with others, getting through obstacles,” Wong said.

Wong initially started out as a paraeducator for special-ed, but later moved to the front desk, attendance and finally ended up in his current position. Having frequently moved positions, Wong understands the stress his co-workers and students have as he has been in their position before. Wong has held his current position for approximately three years. He states that the best part about his job is definitely the students.

“Just to see the students interact in a non-classroom academic environment is awesome.” Wong said. “I get to see the interests of the students, get to see them figure out and succeed at things. If it’s academically or just socially, just to see that joy makes the job well worth it for whatever stressors, for whatever time of the year.

Deb Mandac

MVHS AP Secretary explains the journey of her career.

By Jai Uparkar

Type into your search bar. Go to the “Academic” tab and select “Administration.” Look at the picture in second row, second to last from the right. It has been there for 15 years: ‘Deb Mandac’ AP Secretary.

AP is an abbreviation for Assistant Principal, so Mandac assists vice principals Andrew Goldenkranz and Mike White with everything from projects to scheduling their day. Not only does she help out the assistant principals, but she also manages the school calendar, which consists of important dates like AP testing and breaks.

Mandac had a secretarial position before working at MVHS, as she used to work at Cisco Systems before it downsized in 2001, causing thousands of people to lose their jobs. At that time, there was coincidentally a secretarial position open at MVHS.

“I actually fell into this job,” Mandac said. “My [previous]  employer …  was downsizing and my husband happened to be working in the district and said ‘Hey there is secretarial position open open at a couple of the schools, why don't you try.’ So I applied and I ended up working here. It's not something I’d ever thought of doing but I’m glad I did.”

Mandac never imagined herself going down this career path, as her goal during college was to major in history and become a teacher.

“I think what inspired me … at first, was my love of history and that's what I wanted to major in, history,” Mandac said. “I wanted to give [history] to people and sometimes life takes you down different paths and different things had happened [and] that's when I ended up working in the payroll depart in Cisco System and being a secretary for the department there.”

Mandac, who went to Homestead High School, was inspired to become a teacher by her humanities teacher, Mr. Dalton. His different style of teaching reflected the ideas of the movie, ‘Dead Poets Society.’

“The first week of school, the ‘Dead Poets Society’ had come out and he made all of us stand on top of his desk to get a different perspective of the world,” said Mandac. “I was like if this teacher is going to let us stand on his desk he is going to be pretty cool.”

But the main reason she wanted to become a teacher was to help out students.

“I connect with the kids and I love helping and working with people and that's what I do,” Mandac said. “I don't need to be a teacher to get the fulfillment of helping students and things of that nature.”

The teamwork behind the desks of the office is another reason for her love of the job; talking to her colleagues on a daily basis creates memories to look back on.

“My favorite thing about working the office, [is] just the camaraderie on this side we all seem to get along and have a good time,” Mandac said. “They are all kind of fun [and] different things have different memories for different reasons and I don't really have one that supersedes another.”

Since her childhood days, Mandac has witnessed with her own eyes the evolution of MVHS.

“It's grown over the years because when I was in highschool, I went to Homestead and MVHS was a quiet sleepy little school and it was not a big population,” said Mandac. “It was not until the 90’s that the population here just started getting bigger and change in culture … So it's just been watching it grow and level out it's been kind of fun.”

At the same time, Mandac has seen changes from the inside during her 15 years working at MVHS. She has seen the growth of student population through diversity, and a shift into a different mindset for approaching high school— it doesn’t need to be so stressful.

From her daily interaction with students, Mandac has one word to describe the students here: driven.

“Overall you you guys a just a good bunch of kids,” Mandac said. “I think my favorite part is that you guys are academically driven but yet you guys also, for the most part, know how to do things that are fun; you find things that you like to do and go [to] that next level.”

Apart from her life at the office, Mandac has a busy life at home as well. In her free time, she enjoys to knitting,making cards and spending time with her husband and 7-year-old son.

Mandac is thankful that her job consists of a numerous amount of tasks, researching, helping kids, scheduling and taking notes. Her job keeps order among the staff at MVHS and keep the school running — something people don’t see since it’s behind the scenes.

“It's almost as if I found my place,” Mandac said.

Explore the following segments of  The Office: Frontline and The Office: Right Wing, or return to the homepage for a panoramic overview. 

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