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Life in the Spotlight

A Portage Life in the Spotlight: Melanie Gorden


Melanie Gorden, Secretary to the Assistant Principals at Portage High School, has lived in Northwest Indiana her entire life. Born and raised in Gary, Gorden now lives in Portage and is building relationships with the wonderful staff of Portage High School and all of the students that make every day different from the last.

Gorden attended William A. Wirt High School in Gary, where she spent her days after school working at K-Mart. Her work ethic has always been apparent; she worked through high school and then a week after graduation, she immediately started work at a bank.

“At the time it was Bank of Indiana, then it became Bank One,” Gorden said. “I was a bill collector there. I did that for 20 years and then unfortunately, the bank was downsizing.”

From there, Gorden continued her career in banking at a local credit union, for which she did not care for. But a short time at the credit union turned into a now 20-year long career at Portage High School, a job Gorden loves dearly.

“I wasn’t happy with the credit union and my children were starting to become the age where they were too old for babysitters, but too young to be left at home alone,” Gorden explained. “So I was looking for something close to home and I was very fortunate to find this job that gave me the opportunity to be with my family.”

On a day-to-day basis, Gorden can be found coordinating with substitutes and the administration when a class is in need of a substitute teacher for the day. From payroll to parking permits, Gorden handles everything that comes through the door.

“I look over tardies and absences, I coordinate with the principals about any letters that they need to send out,” Gorden said. “Payroll, parking permits, I help students with any information they need if they are enrolling during the year. But one of my main duties in this job is discipline.”

This involves looking over tardies and absences, issuing detentions, anything that involves discipline of a student. Even though that area of her job has the chance of being difficult and taxing on a person, Gorden loves working with the rest of the staff and all of the students, even the ones who come to see her about that dreaded detention slip.

“Even though I work in the Discipline office, the students are always a pleasure to work with,” Gorden said. “We really have a lot of great kids here at Portage High School and I’ve always loved that part of my job; being able to interact with the kids and the entire staff.”

When Gorden isn’t helping make everything at Portage High School run smoothly, she is spending time with her family any chance she gets.

“My husband is a retired union carpenter and we have five sons,” Gorden said. “They are all kind of spread out everywhere, one is in Chicago, a few are in Indy. We also have a 2-year-old grandson and we are expecting a new grandson this September! So, I just really look forward to being able to be a grandmother full time.”

Along with being a mom and a grandmother, Gorden loves to garden, ride bikes with her husband, and loves the vicinity of the Chicago museums and the Dunes. But most of her hobbies she is saving for when she retires so that her days, just like now, are always different and exciting.

“I want to make those t-shirt quilts and do crafts like that, but most importantly, I want to continue my sister’s needle-points,” Gorden said. “She died of cancer a few years ago and she was always so good at needle-point so I want to continue some of her unfinished projects in her memory.”

As Secretary to the Assistant Principals, Melanie Gorden never finds herself with a lack of work. But just like with her family, it’s a pleasure to spend her days with the wonderful staff and students of Portage High School, which makes all of the hard work worth it in the end.

For more information about Portage High School, go to phs.portage.k12.in.us.

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