Longtime attendance secretary Marleen Boersen announces her retirement

Longtime attendance secretary Marleen Boersen announces her retirement

For the past several years, students, faculty, and families who walked into the main office were greeted by a friendly face known by all: Marleen Boersen. Now, after an illustrious career as the attendance secretary, Marleen is retiring.

Marleen has been a staple of the FHC culture since the beginning; she’s been working within the school district since 1985, but she’s been working at FHC since 1997. 

“I graduated from [FHC] in the ’70s,” Marleen said. “My husband and my children have all graduated from here; I feel comfortable here. There are so many great people that I’ve worked with and friendships that I’ve made and that I’ve kept in touch with.”

Marleen has worked in attendance and in guidance counseling at FHC but is now excited to have more free time. She’s looking forward to taking time for herself and doing some traveling that she’s longed to do for years.

“My husband has a Harley and we love to ride,” Marleen said. “We bought a big fifth wheel with a toy hauler in the back. I think we’re just going to travel around for a while and just do some great riding in as many states as we are able to.”

Almost all of Marleen’s family lives in Michigan, so her plans will take her away from the comfort and warmth of being with the ones she loves, but her journey will allow her to reconnect with someone very dear to her: former front office secretary Wendy Ellis. 

Ellis and Marleen had worked together for almost eight years before Marleen made the choice to retire almost a month ago. 

This duo has formed an inseparable bond and has struggled to stay connected after Ellis’s move to Florida. But with her upcoming retirement and road trip plan, her retirement may be the perfect opportunity to make the trek to meet with Ellis once again. 

Ellis and Marleen sat near each other in the office and connected over the fact that they had daughters similar in age.

I graduated from [FHC] in the ’70s. My husband and my children have all graduated from here; I feel comfortable here.

— Marleen Boersen

“We just kind of clicked,” Ellis said. “We went on walks a lot, we both like to walk and hang out while enjoying grandchildren.” 

Ellis has found a strong loyalty with Marleen and fondly remembers Marleen’s smiling face every morning as she greeted the office staff. Ellis thinks of Marleen as her protector or as someone who is always there for her no matter the circumstances. 

Ellis finds that despite Marleen’s seemingly tough exterior, she is a very sweet and gentle person who is loved and appreciated by all the parents of FHC. Marleen takes her job seriously and does everything she can to keep the students protected. 

Marleen will be missed by many, but even more so by those that depend on her the most like assistant principal John DeStefano. He found a dependable employee in Marleen and has joined the many who will greatly miss everything that she has brought to the school.

DeStefano has known Marleen since the day he was hired, over twenty years ago. He first met her when he was the band director and remembers being constantly reminded by Marleen that he had not taken attendance. 

“She’s always been a fixture in the office,” DeStefano said. “She’s always been really nice with reminding me, especially as a young teacher, and even as I got older, to take attendance the right way. She was always so gracious with me. I appreciated that about her.”

DeStefano’s fondest memories of Marleen revolve around the stories Marleen told about what the Forest Hills schools used to be like and the old “California-style” campus. DeStefano has always seen Marleen’s plethora of knowledge about the history of this community with awe and appreciated the connectedness he felt knowing so much about the FHC community. 

Marleen is excited for what her retirement will bring to her and is excited to step away from the repetitiveness and stability of a job.

“I don’t want to have any kind of a commitment,” Marleen said. “If I want to volunteer somewhere, I want to be able to do it freely.”