Behind the Scenes:
High School Administrative Assistant Abby Akridge
By Christian Wiley
Here at Chattanooga Christian School, there are a lot of things that go on that we do not see most of the time. We are pleased to introduce a new series to The Charger called Behind the Scenes. The purpose of this series is to be able to shed light on the staff members that may go unnoticed or underappreciated. In this series, we will introduce employees from the new Sage staff, janitorial staff, counselors, office workers, etc. We hope that this series will reach all the right audiences to create an atmosphere where everyone is appreciated and seen as valued in our community.
Think about this: when you are sitting at your desk in Mr. Martin's class listening to him share his funniest memes of the week, there are people all around this school working to keep the school going. In this article we will be highlighting the job of Ms. Abby Akridge, who most of you know works at the front office. But who is she really? What does Akridge do for the duration of school? What does she do when she is not working? All of these questions will be answered in order for the student body to be able to know one of their many “behind the scenes” workers.
This is Akridge’s first year being in the faculty at Chattanooga Christian School. Before coming to CCS, she worked at an insurance company here in Chattanooga, but after spending over a decade there, she realized she was missing out on what could be well spent time with her daughter. “I was losing the balance of work and my life,” Akridge says. She wasn’t finishing up her work until 1 or 2 a.m., leaving her little time with her family. When she was with her family, all she could think about was the work she had to do. She found her job to be tiring, and she was losing patience with her daughter due to this. Working at CCS has impacted her life, allowing her to spend more time with her daughter and sharing a similar schedule. She didn't want to miss any more of her daughter's childhood, so she decided to leave her job at the insurance company to take time to reevaluate. She then became aware of the substitute shortage at CCS. While Akridge subbed for a few months, she learned about the opening for a High School Administrative Assistant. She was drawn into the idea of this job because she believed she could use the skills she gathered in the business world in a more beneficial way here. She believes it was to be the “perfect fit.”
Akridge says that the environment at CCS is “truly a gift,” and another plus is having a similar schedule as her daughter. She is driven by being able to lighten the workload of fellow faculty members. She loves helping the people around her and filling in where she can. She loves that every day is different. Her daily schedule includes answering the phones and letting people in the front door. However, she does other really important things like comparing log sheets to those of teachers to make sure everyone is in the building. A huge chunk of her time is managing attendance and making sure everyone is accounted for. Upon that, she helps lighten other people’s work and keeps our front office in order. She enjoys the flexibility of her job and how she isn’t doing the same thing every day. Akridge is always finding ways to help others and build up the CCS community. Currently, her goal is to get everything in the Lost & Found organized and back to the items’ owners. When she isn’t working at the front desk or pioneering the Lost & Found, she subs for Pre-K and Extended Care. She likes to use breaks or time after school to help out in the Lower School.
Akridge says the more difficult parts of her job are when she has multiple people calling while she also is trying to hand out tardy passes. When times get busy, however, there are always people ready to jump in and help. One recurring but difficult part of her job is trying to tell people that the door is connected to a bell lock system, so if they are knocking she can’t open the door. The people have to press the button for her to unlock the door, which is hard to communicate through a door let alone while helping students. However the job has many sweet moments, including “all the little conversations with the students.” She says that the people at CCS are so kind and funny, and she truly enjoys it when they stop to say hello. She continues to be amazed at the support and academic strength from the CCS community while still focusing on Jesus. She loves when tours are being held and Ms. Word prays over the families making the upcoming decision to join our school.
While Akridge does so much for the school, she also has hobbies and interests outside of campus. She really wants to catch up on her reading this year and try out some new books. “I'm trying to revisit some of the classics that I didn't have as much appreciation for the first time around. I’m finishing Great Expectations, and I re-read The Crucible again this year with a new lens.” She also enjoys a good true crime podcast and watching her daughter dance during dance rehearsals. On what inspires her, she claims, “I would say I've been most impacted by my parents. They've walked with me through so many challenging times over my lifetime and have taught me to persevere with love. They are also the best grandparents to my daughter, my nieces and nephews.” She also enjoys her ability to still invest time in hobbies and friends while working at CCS.
Akridge’s piece of advice for faculty is, “Don’t forget the impact you have… and don’t forget to keep your radio on. Ha!” She says she still can remember school discussions from when she was in school, and the impact those teachers had on the students' lives. She says she wants to make that same impact, simplify processes, and watch the students grow to their full potential.
The point of this series is to shed light on the people who maybe go “unseen” at CCS but impact our daily lives. When asked whether she ever felt unappreciated by the student body, she said this question is a reflection of the empathy intertwined with the CCS community. She says she has yet to feel unappreciated or unseen, but sometimes she wishes students knew she is the face of some of the processes the students don’t like. She prays on Exodus 14:14 and remembers the Lord will fight her battles.
School would not be the same without our high school administrative assistant, and we applaud her for all she does. So, next time you stroll into the building and sit down at your desk, remember who is in that front office working to support the CCS community.