Every organization needs a person like Pam Stone.
She’s the team member behind the scenes who handles the details. The one who is organized and precise and doesn’t let things slip through the cracks. In her 38-plus years at Rowland Hall, 25 as an employee, Pam has filled a variety of roles at the school, from parent and volunteer, to host mother for Rowmark and foreign students, to assistant librarian, to her current position as administrative assistant in the Upper School Athletics Department. While the roles have varied, one thing has not: having Pam around means things get done, and they are done well.
“She does the things that no one sees,” said Upper School Principal Ingrid Gustavson. “Most of the time people don’t know what she’s doing, but if she wasn’t doing it, that would lead to big problems.”
She’s a lifesaver. She takes care of all the little details, all of the little things. She keeps things organized and everyone in line, and she knows what you need before you need it.—Kendra Tomsic, director of athletics
“She’s a lifesaver,” said Director of Athletics Kendra Tomsic. “She takes care of all the little details, all of the little things. She keeps things organized and everyone in line, and she knows what you need before you need it.”
Pam may work behind the scenes, but some of her work has been visible in the halls of the Upper School for years. For more than two decades, and up until the beginning of this school year, she was the creative force behind the division’s bulletin boards and display cases. It started when she worked in the library and wanted to get kids more interested in reading, and in recent years, Ingrid enlisted her to do a complete overhaul of the bulletin boards, as communication had become primarily digital and many of the boards were not looking so hot. “I’m more of a creative person than anything else,” said Pam. “So this was something that was perfect for me to do.”
Pam transformed some of the boards into inspirational and motivational messaging for students, and others she preserved as messaging centers, but turned them from eyesores to showcases. Every bulletin board reflected her creative nature, her attention to detail, and her desire to make things “just a little bit nicer,” as her son, and member of Rowland Hall’s Alumni Executive Board, Conor Bentley ’01 put it. Her daughter-in-law, Rowland Hall Director of Financial Aid Mary Anne Wetzel ’01, calls it the “Pam touch.”
“There were no pre-made borders or clip art pictures,” Conor said. “She took the time to make a plan, and then cut things out by hand because she cares about everything she does, and she cares about Rowland Hall.”
When Conor and Mary Anne were students in the Upper School, they appeared in several of the school’s theatrical productions. That’s when Pam got to play her favorite role during her time at Rowland Hall: backstage mom. No matter the show, she used her creative prowess and artistic skills to source costumes, create props, and perfect hair and makeup. “For Grease, she had us all collecting toilet paper rolls that she turned into curlers for the song ‘Beauty School Dropout,’” Conor said.
“I don’t think she saw a full production in all four years I was in high school,” he added. “She was always backstage curling hair or applying blush, basically making sure everyone looked amazing when they went on.”
Pam’s attention to detail and level of care has played a role in the lives of members of the Rowland Hall community, not just professionally but personally as well. She is a talented hair stylist who has cared for more than one member of the community who faced cancer and the cold reality of losing their hair. Without asking for payment, and with no fanfare, Pam was there to provide them with cuts and styles that made the process less daunting.
Pam’s attention to detail and level of care has played a role in the lives of members of the Rowland Hall community, not just professionally but personally as well.
Friend and former French teacher Doug Wortham recalled Pam’s help when his partner, Nick, faced a health crisis in 2008. She created a “prescription for happiness and encouragement,” he said, writing out small messages and stuffing them into pill casings, then placing them in a medicine bottle with official “doctor’s orders” on the outside. Every morning they opened one to keep their spirits up. Doug says he can only imagine how much time and effort must have gone into the project to get it just so, and he remembers the impact it had on him and Nick. “It was truly a heartwarming thing that I have never forgotten,” he said.
And though Pam is moving on from Rowland Hall, she has no intention of slowing down. She is excited to focus on her writing, starting with her blog and potentially moving on to larger projects. She has already written two books and is eager to send them out to publishers. She also has a condo to remodel, yoga classes to attend, a pile of books to read, and many friends and family to see. “I am going to spend time with my 99-year-old mother,” she said. “She can’t see, but she is still sharp as a tack and can do the Wordle in her head.”
Pam also said she is thinking of doing some volunteer work; the only question is which entity in need will be lucky enough to nab her. After all, Pam Stone is the kind of person every organization needs—and we’re glad that, for almost four decades, Rowland Hall was lucky enough to be one of them.