Saints Spotlight: Julia Huffman
Annie Roach ’18

Julia Huffman has seen more than two decades of St. Andrew’s alumni pass through these halls, and her red ponytail will no doubt be familiar to many of them. Huffman is St. Andrew’s Facilities Care Supervisor and in that role, manages the school’s housekeeping team. She’s at the center of the work that begins each day, before the sun rises, to keep St. Andrew’s stone floors and dormer windows gleaming. Huffman and her team of 13 care for 48 buildings and 379,000 square feet of space, and are also responsible for moving and installation of school furnishings, the setup and breakdown of all of the school’s events, and deep cleaning faculty residences between tenants.
“Today, we celebrate Julia Huffman and her 25 years of dedicated work and service to St. Andrew’s,” said Head of School Tad Roach at our 2019 Commencement ceremony. “Julia is one of the people at St. Andrew’s who perfectly embodies the spirit of the community. She is always kind, always generous, always calm, always willing to help us prepare for school events, whether that event is scheduled well in advance or appears suddenly and unexpectedly on her desk. As the director of our Housekeeping staff, Julia is a thoughtful, encouraging, and positive leader, and she brings a comprehensive knowledge of all the people and all the events that make up a year at St. Andrew’s. Our community depends and relies on Julia every day, and it is good and appropriate to pause today and thank her as she marks 25 years of service to St. Andrew’s.”
    Annie Roach ’18 sat down with Huffman after graduation to discuss that 25 years of service, how the school has changed during her years here, and what has remained essential at its core. 

Annie: Start by telling me your job title and what exactly you do on campus.

Julia: I'm a Facilities Care Supervisor. I have 13 people under me, and our job is to keep things clean and maintain floors. We do a lot of setups, chair and table setups. We’re working the dorms all over campus.

Annie: When did you first come to St. Andrew's?

Julie: I started in 1993, and at that time I worked part-time when I first started in March. [In] September I went full-time and I worked in K, L and M dorm, and the old art building, and the offices and the old maintenance shop. It was a lot different back then, because the art building was just a little teeny tiny building.

Annie: So how many years is that [total]?

Julia: Twenty-five. They don't count the part time year, so September [2018] was 25.

Annie: Tell me a bit about your life leading up to St. Andrew's and how you ended up here.

Julia: My mom was married to Davey Stats. He was my stepdad. Davey worked here for many years as a carpenter. Then eventually, my mom became an employee here and that's how I got in. I used to come in and help in the summertime, cleaning rooms after students left, and then eventually I got a job here. Before that, I worked at a gas station as an assistant manager, so then I came here and I've been here ever since.

Annie: Tell me a little bit about your life outside of work and what some of your passions are.

Julia: I'm married. I have two kids that are grown now. My life outside of work was mostly about them growing up. I'm pretty much a homebody, except for in the summers I do like to go down to the beach. That’s one of the things I do like to do. [But] I've never really traveled a whole lot. When I was younger, I did have a cousin who did professional rodeos—she did barrel racing, and I traveled with her some up and down the East Coast. But other than that, pretty much Delaware is where I stay, unless I go down to the Outer Banks. That's one of my favorite places.

Annie: And you like Delaware?

Julia: Yeah, I think, I've grown up here. I guess I'm not very adventurous. Now, my sister is totally the opposite, she's traveled and done things. Me, not so much.

Annie: Have you lived in Delaware your whole life?

Julia: My whole life. I actually grew up in [the] Smyrna area. Now I live right outside of Townsend.

Annie: How have you seen Delaware change throughout the years?

Julia: Middletown has really changed. It's just grown up so, so fast. I remember back in the day, if you wanted to go for fast food you had the Tastee-Freez and you had Pizza Hut, and that was it. There were no stores, big stores. We had Thriftway. It’s a lot different [now] out on 301 with all the shopping centers. It was just a little teeny route—you had a stop sign to go across. So yeah, it's changed a lot around here. A lot more people, a lot busier.

Annie: How have you seen St. Andrew's change?

Julia: There’s been a lot of changes. I think the first, biggest change was when Mr. O'Brien retired and then Tad came as headmaster. Two totally different personalities, but two great men. It's just gotten bigger and I think as the times changed, we have to kind of move with the times, but I don't think it's really lost its community. That's one of the nice things about here—[it’s] not just a place to work, [there’s] a sense of community. You get to know the faculty and all the people here. I don't get to know the students as much as I used to when I worked in the dorm.

Annie: What has kept you coming back year after year? What do you like about it?

Julia: I just like the school. I like the people I work with. There's craziness around here sometimes, but I've just always loved the school and St. Andrew's. Maybe it is the sense of community that's here and [that] you get to know people.
 

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Summer Reading & 2019-2020 Visiting Authors
Elizabeth Roach

Summer reading assignments and suggestions have been posted to the SAS library website. In addition to this year's all-School read—Transatlantic by Colum McCann—you are asked to read two other books from the required reading list, all of which have been recommended by St. Andrew's faculty.

Next year, we have several brilliant visiting writers coming to campus. We're excited to announce that Colum McCann, who won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin, will visit St. Andrew's for a day next year. At the end of the school year, we gave all current students a copy of TransAtlantic. Students should bring their book back to school with them - we will be studying the novel in all English classes next year before McCann's visit.

In fact, as you read TransAtlantic, and get to know the fictional version of Frederick Douglass that McCann creates in its pages, students may also want to dip into the work of renowned historian David Blight, whose recent biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018), which just won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes, among many others. Since we are always interested in how different disciplines can learn from one another—something you can see in the vast array of books suggested by the faculty—Professor Blight will be visiting on campus this year as well and will engage in a conversation with Colum McCann.

Additionally, in the fall, Richard Blanco—an American poet, author, civil engineer, and President Obama's second inaugural poet—will spend a day with our students. I strongly recommend reading his poetry collection In Looking for the Gulf Motel and his memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood. In these works, he explores his Cuban heritage and his role as a gay man in Cuban-American culture. We are thrilled that he will be one or our visiting writers next year!

There is no summer homework beyond the required reading, but fun enrichment resources can also found on the summer work website, if you wish to keep in practice in your favorite subjects for the fall.

Summer reading assignments and suggestions have been posted to the SAS library website. In addition to this year's all-School read—Transatlantic by Colum McCann—you are asked to read two other books from the required reading list, all of which have been recommended by St. Andrew's faculty.

Next year, we have several brilliant visiting writers coming to campus. We're excited to announce that Colum McCann, who won the National Book Award in 2009 for Let the Great World Spin, will visit St. Andrew's for a day next year. At the end of the school year, we gave all current students a copy of TransAtlantic. Students should bring their book back to school with them - we will be studying the novel in all English classes next year before McCann's visit.

In fact, as you read TransAtlantic, and get to know the fictional version of Frederick Douglass that McCann creates in its pages, students may also want to dip into the work of renowned historian David Blight, whose recent biography, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (2018), which just won both the Pulitzer and Bancroft Prizes, among many others. Since we are always interested in how different disciplines can learn from one another—something you can see in the vast array of books suggested by the faculty—Professor Blight will be visiting on campus this year as well and will engage in a conversation with Colum McCann.

Additionally, in the fall, Richard Blanco—an American poet, author, civil engineer, and President Obama's second inaugural poet—will spend a day with our students. I strongly recommend reading his poetry collection In Looking for the Gulf Motel and his memoir, The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood. In these works, he explores his Cuban heritage and his role as a gay man in Cuban-American culture. We are thrilled that he will be one or our visiting writers next year!

There is no summer homework beyond the required reading, but fun enrichment resources can also found on the summer work website, if you wish to keep in practice in your favorite subjects for the fall.