Mother figure, counselor, friend. Linda Blake has been all of those things and more during her long, distinguished career with Meridian CUSD #101. Linda came to Meridian after more than twenty years with the Mounds Head Start program. She worked in various positions at both the High School and Elementary School, until a retirement left the High School secretary position open. Linda assumed that role, and has been a familiar, friendly face to teachers, administrators, students and staff for the past 12 years.
Linda is a Class of ‘74 graduate of Meridian High School, and her two daughters (Class of ‘96 and Class of ‘00) are alumni as well, so it’s something of a family tradition. In fact, to Linda, the whole Meridian community is like a family - that’s what makes it so special to her. She delights in the fact that she has been able to see students that she had in Head Start graduate from high school, and she is as proud of them as she is of her own kids.
Linda is a lifelong Mounds resident and spent her whole school career in the Meridian district, thanks to her beloved grandmother. When she was a young girl, Linda’s parents decided to move to Chicago, but her grandmother took her in (as well as three of her cousins), so that she could continue to attend school in Meridian.
Linda has seen scores of children of all types come through the Meridian schools, and she believes that the biggest thing that parents can do to help their children succeed is to become involved in their lives, both in school and outside of school. “Get involved with your children,” she urges. “That family involvement, it helps a lot.” Linda has put this philosophy into practice with her Meridian family often during her tenure in the district. Her motherly instincts have helped her sense when a child is feeling sad, lonely, frustrated or scared. She knows how engaging with those children, just exchanging a few words, can make a big difference in their attitude. “You don’t have to say much, just that little bit,” she says. “You never know what influence that you can have on a child.”
Now, though she will miss her family at Meridian, Linda looks forward to retirement. She will be able to spend much more time with her family, especially her grandchildren, and can’t wait to do some long-overdue traveling. But her legacy will live on at Meridian, and her influence will be felt for many years to come.