After almost six decades, school is finally out for Cathy Catlett.
The Booneville School District last Thursday — the final day of the 2013-2014 school year — held a reception for Catlett, who announced in February that she would be retiring after 47 years with the district.
Over 80 people, including current and former school employees as well as members of the community attended the reception.
A 1966 graduate of Booneville High School, Catlett made a quick transition from student to employee. Actually, it was during her senior year she actually started what would become her career.
She started working in the school counselor’s office doing typing jobs for Harry Culps and while completing requirements to walk in commencement exercies the high school secretary at that time was also wrapping up her time with the district.
Then superintendent Cy "C.R." Underwood was the superintendent at that time and Catlett was asked if she had any interest in the position. She did.
Catlett stayed in that capacity for 11 and a half years before the district’s bookkeeper retired and she was again asked if she had an interest. Again, she did and she has been doing the job ever since.
Because she started right out of high school, Catlett said she was forced to learn her jobs on a daily basis.
Since Underwood, Catlett has since worked under five other superintendents including Stuart Scoggins, Aaron Hossman, Verna Jean Cunningham — who dropped by to see Catlett last week — Bobby Ashley and John Parrish moving along with them from the old "Home Ec building" to the current administrative offices on Seventh Street.
Catlett’s career as a bookkeeper has spanned, of course, the manual pen and ink methods to today’s technology based systems. It has also grown in scope, Terri Farmer has worked with Catlett since 1995 when the load became a two-person job.
As the bookkeeper for all those years Catlett has handled the financial matters during the construction of two high schools, a gymnasium, a new elementary school, a couple of safe rooms and several other building projects.
With retirement pending — her contract officially ends on June 30 — Catlett has said she isn’t sure what’s next.
Catlett is acutally one of eight people retiring from the school district. The others are Ruth Austin, LaDonna Kelley, Jane Woolley, Jonathan Payne, Linda Payne, Brenda Wilkinson and Terri Littleton.