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Making A Difference: Barb Young, Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education

Barb Young There’s really no magic to being at work every day, says Barb Young, a 23-year veteran teacher’s assistant with the Ritenour School for Early Childhood Education (SEC). “Every day” means Young has never missed a day of work.

Since her first day on the job in 1994 when the district opened up the Early Childhood Center on the third floor of Hoech, to its location in a church on Stansbury Avenue and at its current building at 2350 Woodson Road, Young has had perfect attendance.

Sitting among her youngest fans at a preschool table in September 2018, she smiled sheepishly when asked what her secret is to her perfect record.

“I really don’t take any vitamins. I just eat healthy and have an apple a day,” says the early childhood educator. “I guess it’s just a strong sense of responsibility.”

Young’s strong sense of duty started well before she came to Ritenour in 1994. During her 10 ½ years at another preschool, Young says she missed only two days during her first month of work when she caught a cold.

“I guess that’s all I needed to build up my immune system,” she said.

At the 2018 Ritenour Convocation for all district employees on Aug. 8, Young was recognized for her longtime perfect attendance, which is the longest-standing perfect attendance record of any Ritenour employee.

“Ms. Young is a shining example of what dedication looks like in Ritenour,” said Superintendent Dr. Chris Kilbride. “She is living out our motto of ‘Every Student, Every Day,’ to the highest level. We are truly proud of her commitment to our youngest students and to her colleagues.”

Young says her school day routine begins when she awakes at 4:20 a.m. so she can be at SEC by 5:30 a.m. to get ready for students who arrive for before-school care. Her workday ends at 1:45 p.m. As a teacher’s assistant for 3, 4 and 5 year olds, Young says there is never a dull moment.

“I love seeing the kids progress from September to May. It’s just amazing, she says. “When our kids accomplish a task they’ve been trying to do and then say, ‘I did it,’ it is truly rewarding.”

Young, who grew up in Ritenour and has two grown Ritenour High School graduates, Kris and Mike Young, says she owes some of her perfect attendance to the grandparents who would watch her children if they were home sick when they were young.

Young says she plans to keep her perfect record for several more years before she retires.