President John Quincy Adams once wrote, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” Meridian High school’s new secretary, Katina Reed knows from experience the truth of this statement. “Keep going, don’t quit.” is her motto, and she does her best to live by it every day.
Going and Don't Quit
She was dealing with health, parenting and personal issues, and feeling like her career had stagnated. “I was feeling stuck, and I don’t like to be stuck.”
A mother of three, Katina not only had her own welfare and future to consider, but also that of her children. “Regardless of everything that was going haywire in my life… I was going to quit, but I had those boys watching me.” So, she decided that if she wanted to better herself and her situation, she had to take that next step. She went back to college at age 39, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education.
Reed’s experience as a parent also comes to bear on her relationships with students. The advice that she would give to other parents echoes the message that she tries to impart on the young minds she encounters – “Don’t quit. It gets hard out there; do not quit. If you fail, try again.” She also feels it is so important to engage in the lives of the children in your care, whether they are your own or not, to give them a sense of importance and to let them know that someone is listening and cares about what’s going on with them.
Prior to assuming her new role at Meridian High School, Katina worked with Head Start for 15 years. Now, she’s looking forward to the opportunity to engage with parents and students on another level. “I’m used to changing diapers and running after toddlers,” she says. “Now, I get to actually see some parents and interact with them, and some of the kids who used to go to Head Start, I’m watching them grow.”
Reed thinks that having an open door policy is an effective way to help Meridian students be as successful as possible. “Most of the kids here know me. If there’s an issue, I hope they trust me enough to come and talk to me.” Katina also believes that nudging students out of their comfort zone is important, and she tries to encourage them to try new things that they would not ordinarily consider doing, like sports or student council, to help them see that there is a whole, diverse world out there for them to experience.
A 1998 Meridian High School graduate, Katina enjoys living in the area. She appreciates the tight-knit community, and how it gives young people a lot of positive role models who are familiar to them. “Family. It’s family-oriented,” she explains. Not least among those community role models, Katina Reed’s example of how far patience and perseverance can take you will serve to motivate and inspire the young lives she touches for a long time to come.