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Janet Barber
Honorary Alumnus

The smile was constant and the greeting always the same, "Hi friend." For more than twelve years, Janet Barber was not only Principal Wilson Whitty's secretary, but she was the face of the High School's "Corner Office" and a friend and confidant to students and faculty alike.

Janet Barber started her career at the NAHS in 1988 as a paraprofessional in the business department; however, a few months into that job, there was a need for a temporary substitute for the principal's secretary and Janet took that position. Soon the position became permanently available, Janet Barber was hired, and she held that position until she followed Wilson Whitty into retirement in 2000.

As secretary to the principal, Janet was responsible for the day-to-day duties of an executive secretary as well as supervising the rest of the office staff. In addition, there were several times during the year where Janet's management skills required that she ensure that some of the school's most visible public events went off without a hitch. Three of the most important events Janet oversaw were the preparation for the opening of school in September, the organization of the spring academic awards assembly, and the week-long activities that culminated with graduation. Throughout these stressful events, Janet remained unflappable.

Tonight, however, we are recognizing Mrs. Barber for more than just her flawless execution of her secretarial duties; we are honoring her friendly manner and the welcoming tone she maintained every hour of every day she spent in the office. It is expected that the principal's secretary has access to a great deal of confidential and sensitive information, but Mrs. Barber also gained the confidence of hundreds of students and most of the faculty who confided in her on personal and professional matters. No matter how busy her day may have been, she always had time to listen and offer some friendly advice. While this might seem like an unwanted distraction, Mr. Whitty recalls never taking exception to the amount of time she spent chatting with the high school community for two reasons: at the end of the day her work was always done, and what mattered most was that she was helping to ensure the emotional well-being of the school.

Since retiring in 2000, Janet and her husband of 38 years, Keith, have enjoyed spending time at their house on Cape Cod. Janet also enjoys spending time with her children, Derek and Gwen, and baby-sitting for her three grandchildren, Nathan, Jenna and Grace. Janet thinks often about the administrators, faculty, staff and students that became her friends. Ultimately, it is for her friendship that we recognize Mrs. Barber with the North Attleboro High School Honorary Alumni Award. "Congratulations, friend."