SANDRA WATERS RETIRES
Sandra Waters will officially retire in a few short weeks from Robertsdale High School. What makes her unusual in today's economy, however, is that she has spent her entire career at RHS, where she has worked since August of 1986.
"Most people aren't able to get on somewhere and then spend such a large portion of their career in that place," she said. "I realize how fortunate I've been."
Underneath the glass atop her desk are the photos of numerous students who have passed through the school on their way to college, the military or other careers.
"I can't say that I have a favorite among them all," Waters said, "as each and every one was special to all of us."
Waters, who was hired by then Principal Bobby Farris as a receptionist, also served under Principals John Faulk, Paul Hollingsworth, and Theresa Bryant.
"I remember how Mr. H, as we referred to Paul Hollingsworth, stayed on my back about applying for the bookkeeping position that was fixing to be open with the retirement of the lady who kept the books," she said. "After a lot of arm twisting I finally relented and applied. The next thing I knew was that I was the school's bookkeeper."
It's a position she has held ever since she was appointed to it.
In 1998 Waters husband, Timmy, along with his father and two brothers, decided to cease hog farming and go into raising trees such as oaks, river birch, cypress, maple, and crepe myrtles, in addition to selling small scrubs and pine straw to area developers.
"Although I'm retiring from RHS I have a feeling I'll be doing the books at Waters Nursery," she laughed. "That's one thing about having a family owned and operated business; everyone in the family has a job."
Besides the nursery the family continues to farm, as well as develop new businesses.
"Timmy's brother Tony opened Waters Edge Outback Cooking, which is a catering service for weddings, class reunions, and other events," she said.
The Waters have two children, Steve and Selena, who each have two children apiece.
"Selena, who graduated from the University of West Florida, is a teacher out at Rosinton Elementary, and Steve, who graduated from Auburn, is a landscaper in Mississippi. We hope that he'll return here and work with us," she said. "Needless to say there's a lot of spoiling of grandchildren going on."
Waters said she and her parents lived in Daphne until she was in the second grade. That's when they moved to Silverhill.
"After moving to Silverhill I attended RHS, graduating with Timmy in 1980," she said. "I thought I would be a housewife and maybe do some substitute teaching, but in 1986 the receptionist position came open and Mr. Farris gave me the job. A year later he retired and Mr. Faulk took over."
Shortly after her appointment as bookkeeper at RHS the school system switched from doing its books from paper ledgers to computers.
"I remember how the bookkeepers from throughout the school system would meet in order to learn the new way of doing things," she said. "There was a lot of extra time spent learning the new system."
Shortly after the students' last day a reception was held for all of those who are retiring this year.
"I can't really say that I'm totally retiring," Waters said, "as my sister-in-law, Lisa, who serves as the nursery's office manager wants me to split time with her so she can get more time off."
Waters said she guessed she would move from one career to another. She just hopes she won't be spending as many years doing the books at the nursery as she has at RHS.
"I know I'll miss it here," she said, "as my husband and I, as well as our two children all graduated from this school. It's a special place, with special people. In a sense, it's a lot like family."