Joyce Helmueller knew it was time to retire this year. She had been thinking about retirement for a few years, she said, but hadn't been ready. Now, it's time.
"I have a lot of mixed feelings about it, but I'm ready," Helmueller said. "I'm ready for a new adventure in my life."
The 2012-13 school year has been Helmueller's 30th year at St. Croix Central. She began her career as secretary for the SCC athletic director. The next year, Helmueller became the high school principal's secretary.
Over 30 years, Helmueller said, she has seen many changes and many students go through the school.
"You know you've been here a long time when the kids of the kids you had come through," Helmueller said.
She said those kids are the best part of her job.
"Because every day is a new adventure," she said. "No two days are alike and the kids are great here. They kind of get to be a little bit like your own kids."
Helmueller said she has always tried to treat SCC high school students the way she would like her own children to be treated at school. She said she has often offered support to nervous students on the first day of school, and a friendly ear to any students who just needed to talk.
"We always said we're like moms in here," Helmueller said.
SCC staff and students held a celebration for Helmueller on Wednesday, May 22, decorating the office in her honor, and presenting her with a book of memories created by students and staff at a pep fest held specially for Helmueller.
Helmueller said she will miss the close connection she has with her SCC "family" after her retirement.
"Just being with them and chatting," Helmueller said, "and going through the good times and the bad times with them."
After retiring, Helmueller plans to spend more time with her five grandchildren, ages 5 to 10. She said she hopes to be able to volunteer at their elementary schools, as well as attend their concerts and grandparents' day.
Helmueller and her husband plan to continue to attend high school sporting events, and she hopes to stop in to the high school and visit once in a while too.
"It's been a good run," Helmueller said. "I have nothing but good things to say about St. Croix Central."