By: Mehar Dhanjal, Izzy Reyes, and Jonathan Illuzzi
We’ve all seen or heard the pithy phrase “Live, Laugh, Love.” First appearing in poetic form in 1904, Bessie Anderson Stanley’s advice about success might as well have been written about the one person who truly embodies its message: Debbie Derwart.
If you know anything about Derwart, it’s that she is a lover of people and of life. It’s only fitting, then, that her tenure at Glenelg began on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
Four years later, that love has become part of the school’s cultural fabric, and, despite Derwart starting a new position at Mount View Middle School on Feb. 10, it’s a legacy she is confident will continue to endure.
“Glenelg is the best school I’ve ever worked at,” Derwart said. “I just love it, love it, love it ‑ everyone in the building. It’s been such a joy to get to know and work with everyone. It’s been my honor to be here.”
Derwart accepted the Mount View position as it offers a slower work pace than what she has grown accustomed to as Glenelg’s student-focused attendance secretary.
“Working in attendance has been very impactful and has been busy busy busy, so there’s not a lot of stop time,” Derwart noted. “I’m looking forward to a slower pace and it’ll be fun getting to know the sixth, seventh, and eighth graders over in middle school. It’s a new dynamic.”
Derwart is no stranger to new ventures and finding success, due, in part, to her joy in “getting to know people and sharing time.”
Prior to leaving her mark at Glenelg, Derwart was the media secretary and testing assistant at Marriotts Ridge High School. She has also held various positions at Hammond Middle School as a para-educator and teacher’s secretary. Outside of working in education, Derwart was an independent realtor development consultant for four years, and was even an owner of Australian Health & Fitness, where she operated a 1,200 member facility.
All jobs where getting to know people and putting love into her work has been the reason for her success.
The same has held true of Derwart’s love for Glenelg, where she has come to appreciate the school’s “unique personality,” a place where “the kids bring me so much joy.”
And what can Derwart continue to offer Glenelg after dedicating her life’s work to living, laughing, and loving?
“I just want people to remember to be kind to each other,” she said. “The most important thing is kindness and to smile. That’s what I was raised with. Be kind to others because you never know what they’re going through. Saying a kind word to someone could change everybody’s patterns.
“I want people to know to take it one day at a time, this is a short life, you get here and … I can just remember being 17 and now I’m 70. I am very grateful to be 70, it’s been a joy the whole time!”
Thank you, Debbie Derwart, and best of luck!
You are the sunshine in many people’s day, including mine. Thank you for your kindness and consistently positive outlook.
Your always positive outlook, kind word at the ready, and generous nature will be greatly missed.
Your consistent, kind, and encouraging words (specifically, but not limited to, the work school counselors do) have been so appreciated. And I will miss your daily inspirational quotes and pictures that you made a part of the attendance bulletin. You will be missed Debbie Derwart!!
Thank you for being so supportive and positive!
Your optimism is infectious and you made my day brighter daily. Thanks Debbie!
You brighten my mornings with your positive messages. We’ll miss you! Best wishes in your future endeavors.
Debbie was the first person to greet me when I came to GHS—and greet me she did! With a huge smile, lots of encouragement, and great advice and guidance. She will be so missed!
Debbie is so positive! She’s truly brought so much energy into this building. I love the funny memes she sends with attendance. She’s been such a great partner to all of us!
Debbie is a joy to work with! She always has a smile to greet us and she makes us laugh with her memes in the daily attendance emails. She is generous and kind, including bringing in baked goods to share with us. We will miss her VERY much!
Words can’t express how much you have meant to me. You have seen me at my most frazzled (most of the times) and have always been there to provide calming words, a hug, or chocolates. You have always worked beyond your hours to provide the students and us a real home away from home, and I know you will be as loved and appreciated in your new job as you have been here (and hopefully you will never have to deal with the untenable attendance coding again).
Thank you for being such a bright light here at GHS! I always enjoy your daily attendance emails with memes, jokes, on this day in history, etc. While it may seem so minor, it really does give me something to look forward to. Your positivity is infectious and you will be missed!
From the daily hellos, to the random acts of kindness of baked goodies, your positive attitude and cheer are always appreciated. Thanks for keeping all of our students in check with your diligent attendance work. We will sorely miss you, but wish you the best!
Debbie, thank you for always being so nice and helpful. Best wishes!
Your celebratory personality is a joy to encounter on those tough days when I need a reminder to be present in the moment! From Irish flair to colorful outfits to your ever-present cheerful smile, you brighten everyone’s day. Thank you for being such a delightful person! You will be greatly missed!
Debbie, you made me feel so appreciated and at home when I first came to Glenelg HS in 2020. Thank you for your kindness and care for everyone who walks through our door. You amaze me and I will always consider you a friend :)
Debbie - Thank you for all you have done for GHS and our team. Your positivity brightened up many of our days here at GHS. Wish you all the best in all your future endeavors. Keep in touch!
Debbie, you have been a friend for many years since our Marriotts Ridge days. I will miss seeing you everyday! Thank you for all you have done!
Debbie, you have been such a positive influence on the staff and morale of this building and will be sorely missed. Thank you for all of your kindness over the years, concern for myself and others and the laughter that you often brought with your memes for attendance. May you never lose your sense of humor and know that love and friendship follow you in your next endeavors! I will miss you!
Debbie–you have brought such light to GHS during your time here. I will miss your positive attitude, your cheerleading, your smile, and your offers of chocolate and Irish crackle. I hope your new school knows how lucky they are to get you. You often said you were impressed with our media center, well, I was impressed with you. I had no idea that the attendance secretary could make such an impact on my life, even though I never take attendance. . Your picture should be hanging on the staff Gladiator of the Year wall–you have had such an impact on our building. I will miss you soooooooo much :(
Debbie, You are a kind and welcoming person. From day one you’ve made Glenelg your home. Your happy quotes, notes and messages meant a lot to me and everyone here. Everyone will miss “Mama Deb” who took care of everyone. Mostly though I think they will miss your Irish Crackle. I wish you the best and hope you will be happy in your new position. I will miss you terribly…Take care of you!
Debbie, Thank you for your kindness and positive attitude. I will always remember you with warm thoughts and memories. Best wishes to you in the future. I will miss you. :( Keep in touch.
Deb, you are a warm and caring person. Thank you for all your kindness to me and others. May your retirement be all you want it to be. You will be missed.
Deb- We are so grateful for all of your positive encouragement, small acts of kindness and friendship. Our students were lucky to have your support and understanding. We can only hope that someone can fill those big shoes you are leaving behind. We will miss you!!
As a newer staff member, you helped make me feel so comfortable at GHS with your welcome words and kindness. I am sorry I wasn’t able to work with you for a longer amount of time, but I wish you the best and appreciate everything you did for me!
You are cheerful, helpful, and extremely hardworking. You always made an effort to say hello and catch up every time we crossed paths. I also LOVE the dessert treats you shared. I’m sad that you will be leaving us but am so grateful that I was able to work with you!
Debbie, thank you for taking a legitimate interest in the football team and our success. Your communication and flexibility will be missed! Good Luck!
Debbie, thanks for being a wonderful ball of joy everyday! Wish you best of luck at your new job, will miss you. I've enjoyed our talks over the years. Take care and good luck!
Debbie, Thank you for being the ray of sunshine we all needed every day. Your positivity and love for everything are something to be admired. I will miss seeing your bright smile every day. MVMS does not know how lucky they are to be working with such an AMAZING individual. I wish you all the best in your new adventure!
Debbie, I will miss your smile, kindness and seeing you everyday. Good luck with your new school and every time you bring them a treat think about us here at Glenelg.
Debbie, thank you for always having a kind word and a smile for anyone that walked through the office. I appreciate all your help working through logistics of athletic early dismissals. Good luck in your new venture.
Good luck and best wishes for whatever comes next in your life. You were always so pleasant to see and talk with as I would walk by your office. You are very appreciated.
Debbie- I will miss you so much. Your positive attitude is contagious. Your presence will be missed. Best of luck at MVMS!
Thank you for your consistent, supportive and cheerful attitude! I wish you the best of luck in your future adventures!
Thank you for being YOU! Always so positive and happy, you make everyone feel so good about themselves. Hope your journey is a great one!!! You will be missed!
I am so sorry to hear that you are leaving GHS. I will miss your positive and affirming presence–and the very wise and amusing attendance bulletins.
We will miss Debbie's positive attitude and love in partaking in School Spirit activities. The students enjoyed chatting with her too, especially the late ones!
Oh, the places you will go!! Thank you Debbie for all your support and patience with staff and students. I could always look forward to your friendly smile and greetings. You are appreciated!! Blessings!!!