This past Sunday, Sally Wojciakowski was offered the opportunity to visit the new middle school wing of St. Patrick School. Her son, a science teacher at Northview Public Schools, said he had been asked to help set-up a science room there and thought she might want to come along.
Wojciakowski, a former St. Patrick School secretary, thought that sounded a bit odd but was happy to get a tour of the new space from Principal Scott Czarnopys. She recalls, “We turned a corner, and I saw my grandkids and said, what are you doing here?”
She quickly discovered that the story about her son consulting on a science room was just a ruse. The real purpose of the visit was to recognize Wojciakowski’s 27 years of service to the school by naming the new middle school wing in her honor.
“It was a shocker,” Wojciakowski says. There were tears all around as a plaque was unveiled for The Sally Wojciakowski Wing and a nameplate above the wing entrance affixed. She still feels overwhelmed by the honor, saying, “I can’t even process it right now.”
Face of the School for 27 Years
Czarnopys says it was a “no-brainer” to name the wing after Wojciakowski, calling her the face of the school for 27 years. “She was the first person people came into contact with on a daily basis, and she left a lasting and impactful impression on everyone,” he says. “It only seemed fitting to dedicate the new wing to someone who poured so much into the school.”
With a reputation for being someone who prefers to work quietly in the background, Wojciaksowski isn’t sure what she has done to deserve this honor. “I’m just the person doing the job that I loved every day,” she says. “I don’t need any recognition.”
However, a legion of parents would likely disagree. Retired in 2019 after 27 years of service, Wojciakowski was known by many as the school mother, always quick with a kind word and a listening ear. When children fell on the playground, she applied bandages and dried tears. When someone fell sick, she offered comfort until a parent arrived. All the while, she made sure newsletters were sent, copies were made and, in later years, emails were answered.
“Essentially, this school was an extension of her own family,” reads a portion of the plaque in her honor, which was written with the help of Wojciakwoski’s son John. All three of her and her husband’s children graduated from St. Patrick School, and the inscription notes that even before she became secretary, Wojciakowski was an almost daily presence at the school, helping with lunch and library.
New Middle School Wing Serves Growing School
The Sally Wojciakowski Wing was originally intended to be completed by spring break. However, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed construction, and students weren’t able to use the wing until the start of the new school year in August.
After years of robust growth, St. Patrick School had expanded to fill all available rooms in the building which left some grades meeting in cramped spaces that were never intended to be classrooms. The new wing includes two large rooms that house the 7th and 8th grade homerooms and are used for science as well as other subjects.
“It’s just beautiful,” Wojciakowski says. “The classrooms are gorgeous, and they’re huge.”
Czarnopys initially envisioned a large dedication ceremony that would include students, parents and staff. However, with the pandemic making that sort of event impossible, he opted instead for a private ceremony with Wojciakowksi, her husband, children and grandchildren. When the current health crisis passes, there will be hopefully be opportunities for others to come and admire the newly christened Sally Wojciakowski Wing.