Agnes Saumani is a primary school PA who, since Auckland’s lockdown in August, has also been fulfilling the roles of caretaker, site manager, receptionist, packer, and delivery driver.
Agnes lives in South Auckland and works at the Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate (SEHC) Junior School. Like many other schools in Auckland, SEHC had to take on a totally different way of teaching and learning when lockdown hit. Luckily, the school had a superstar in the form of Agnes, who stepped up to take on extra jobs – often on the weekends – so staff and students could have what they needed for home schooling.
One of the biggest tasks Agnes took on in lockdown was ordering mountains of stationery and making physical learning packs, which she would then label and courier out to over 450 students, as well as driving around doing deliveries herself. She even got her husband and kids involved in the shopping and packing. “My family know it’s my do or die job, so they support me and help me out.”
“I go the extra mile just to see the smiles on people’s faces. It’s a lot of work but if you love what you do it’s worth it. You do what you’ve got to do to keep the students happy.”
Agnes’ main priority remains the kids at SEHC, who she feels have been missing their teachers and friends. Supporting kids with packs and resources has been Agnes’ way of trying to bring a sense of normality to the situation.
As if her school responsibilities weren’t enough, Agnes and her whānau have also been helping their community by delivering food parcels to families in need. “Just hearing ‘thank you’ is enough for me. That’s my motivation.” Although Agnes has been super busy during lockdown, she always makes sure Sunday is family time, to be together, pray and connect.
We think her colleague, Nita, describes Agnes’ efforts pretty perfectly: “She's our very own angel, who every day goes an extra mile for others. A delivery driver who drops off devices and resources to those who can't do it themselves, a caretaker turning alarms on and off for staff at weekends, a site manager dealing with tradies, and a school receptionist directing visitors and queries. Our school community has benefited greatly by the actions of this Awesome Aucklander.”
We think Agnes deserves a well-earned break this summer, but as someone who’s so dedicated to her job, Agnes describes her school as her ‘second home’. “I’m really looking forward to the Christmas break, but I might get schoolsick!”
We want to give a big shout out to Agnes and all the other school staff who have been supporting Auckland’s young people with their home learning this lockdown!