Some people are just synonymous with a specific place and Vanessa Bradshaw is one of those. She not only works at Princeton Elementary, she ‘is’ Princeton Elementary.
The long-time school secretary’s positive attitude and friendly smile are what greet visitors and educators when they first walk through the door, and have done so for two decades.
“Even with parents and students trying to get registered, her genuine and warm smile made this very nervous and new teacher (to not only the school, but the parish) feel welcome,” Rachel Holtsclaw wrote. “Since that day, I have learned that this selfless woman keeps that warm smile on her face every day, no matter what the day may bring.”
Miki Perry calls Bradshaw “the heart of Princeton Elementary,” pointing out she takes care of all scheduling, money collected, enrolling and dropping students, taking care of new hires and countless other tasks that keep the school humming. All with a smile and cheerful countenance.
When Assistant Principal Jamie East came to Princeton a couple of years ago, she quickly recognized the gift Bradshaw possesses to lift up others. It is what led her and many others at the school to nominate their beloved secretary for Bossier Schools’ Gold Star employee award for the month of October.
“Mrs. Bradshaw is the shining light that greets our visitors, staff and students with a bright smile every day. She is a Princeton institution,” East said. “With her at the helm, all documents are turned in on time and completed to a tee! Need someone to speak life into during a bad day? Mrs. Bradshaw is the one to go to. Need a shoulder to cry on? She is always there to convey wisdom and empathy. Mrs. Bradshaw shines bright every day and is definitely Princeton’s Gold Star!”
“I love our community and I love our school,” Bradshaw said quietly after being surprised with the Gold Star award by Bossier Schools Assistant Superintendent Jason Rowland. “I’m just very honored to be selected and feel blessed to work at a place like Princeton.”
Given her number of years at the school, Bradshaw reflected on how she has watched life evolve full circle.
“It’s awesome to see a lot of my former students who are parents with children here now,” she commented.
Not only is Bradshaw a fixture at Princeton, but in the community as well. Rarely does she go anywhere and not know someone. She is just that kind of person who makes an indelible impression. Call it her mission field or life’s calling, but Bradshaw credits a mothers’ prayer group she has been a part of for 15 years for how she approaches each day.
“Be a shining light to whoever walks in that door and that involves being kind and generous and sometimes just helping meet needs.”
Her mantra tells a lot about Bradshaw. A shining light who radiates kindness, compassion and embodies everything a Gold Star should.