tampabay.com

What's going on? the 'newsletter lady' knows

By MARYAN PELLAND
Published March 1, 2007


At Central High, Maureen Schuyler is the "newsletter lady."

Although she has no kids at the school now, Schuyler still volunteers her time to keep Central families connected, just as she has done for the past 10 years.

In 1997, when Schuyler's daughter, Christine, was a senior and her son, Vincent, a freshman, Schuyler attended a School Advisory Council meeting where improving effective communication was the hot topic.

"Someone suggested a newsletter. I mentioned I had worked on the yearbook when my kids were at Notre Dame Catholic school. So I became a newsletter lady at Central," said Schuyler.

Her yearbook experience was back in the day of cut and paste and paper, glue and scissors. Now the job involves computers, page-making software and printers. She uses no templates, preferring to create her own design.

She began the newsletter project with no computer experience. Now she's a whiz.

From gathering news to writing copy, from layout design to final proofs, Schuyler does it all. The graphic arts class at Central does final printing and returns the bundles to Schuyler.

She takes them home, then prints and applies labels to mail some 1,800 copies to families, teachers and other staff at the school and throughout the district.

The quarterly newsletter is not all bulletins and snippets. Schuyler might profile a group doing a great project to help someone out. A debated issue, like cell phones on campus, can become a topic. She gives kudos to those who have earned them.

People put scraps of news in her mailbox at school. They e-mail and snail-mail her. She can count on the guidance department for a page or two and ROTC to chime in with another page. But for the most part, she shuffles the scraps, then becomes writer, editor and publisher for another eight- to 10-page issue.

The newsletter isn't a family project, though husband Jim has been known to help stick mailing labels in place and lug bundles to and from the car. The kids are grown and moved away, Christina teaching fifth grade in Georgia and Vincent finishing up at the University of Central Florida..

But the newsletter lady has no plans to retire from her post any time soon.

"I see it as a community service and that makes me feel good," she said. "I guess if someone really wanted to take the job on, I'd let them have it, but I'm in no hurry to give it up. I like it."