Athletics secretary, Emily Cates, wins Class Act Award


Kenna McNally

Athletic director Nick Wood leads athletics secretary Emily Cates to the entrance of LHS where she was surprised with the Class Act Award on Wednesday.

By Julia Barker, Staff Writer

Emily Cates received the USD 497 Class Act Award on Wednesday.

The Class Act Award is awarded when Lawrence Public Schools recognizes one outstanding classified support staff member twice a year. Cates, an LHS alumna, is the athletics secretary and has been working at LHS for 15 years. She reflected on her work for The Budget:

School secretary Cindi McCaleb embraces Emily Cates after Cates received the Class Act Award. (Kenna McNally)

How long have you been working here at Lawrence High School?
“I started in 2006 the fall semester after my youngest son graduated from LHS, My other son in 2002. My husband and I are LHS grads, too, so you can see we are a true LHS family.”

Can you describe your job, and what you do?
“I do a lot of things and it would probably fill up all of your space if I listed them all but basically I assist the athletic director, coaches, athletes and parents with many different things ranging from paperwork to scheduling (or this time of year cancelling) events. The types of tasks I do are the behind the scenes, day to day operation parts of athletics that very few people know about.”

What drives you to continue working at and supporting LHS?
“LHS is simply a great place to be. The students and staff are amazing and our current athletic director Nick Wood and the three others that I have worked under (Ron Commons, Bill Dewitt, John Hilton) have been great to work with.”

What is your fondest memory of working here at LHS?
“When I look back at my 15 years at LHS, one thing doesn’t really stand out but what does stand out is the way students and staff care for each other. As we often say we are the LHS Chesty Lion Family.”

How did you feel accepting the Class Act Award?
“I was completely surprised at receiving the award. There are so many other amazing classified people in our building that deserve this award. Paraeducators, custodians, cafeteria workers, or any of our clerical staff. You name it, and they all deserve it.”

Emily Cates is presented with a $400 check from Truity Credit Union after receiving the Class Act Award on Wednesday. (Kenna McNally)

How have you been able to create a meaningful impact in student’s lives?
“I hope that what I can teach students is that the experiences you have in high school prepare you for life. For example, meeting a sport forms deadline in high school might seem trivial but learning responsibility, meeting deadlines in the ‘real world,’ is important whether you are in the business world, military or a parent. There is more to athletics than athletics. Athletics teaches leadership, accountability and patience. Our department motto is sportsmanship, integrity, respect, a standard higher than victory.”

What does our school community mean to you?
“The LHS community, our Chesty Lion Family, is simply the best there is, and I am proud to be a part of it, and there is nowhere I’d rather be.”