Staff member Monique Kindrix discusses spreading positivity through her interactions with students at UAHS.
By Ayah Elsheikh, ’20. Photo by Grace Call, ’20. Graphics by Morgan Plagenz, ’21.
Following in the footsteps of her father who has been a staff member at Jones Middle School for 20 years, Monique Kindrix has been working at UAHS for almost three years. Now a recurring friendly face in the cafeteria, she discusses how the students she interacts with have shaped the way she looks at the world.
Q: You are well known as a very positive person to interact with within the school. Where does the positivity stem from?
KINDRIX: To be honest, you guys give me a huge boost. There will be times when I am not having a good day and as soon as lunch starts—as soon as I say ‘Hi’ [for] the first time—my day turns around. I love the kids here. I have not met one student here that is mean or has a nasty attitude or is negative. If everybody is nice, there is no reason why I should ever be mean.
Q: Do you see yourself working with kids for a long time?
KINDRIX: Yes. This is gonna be the job that I probably retire from. That’s what I was thinking when I came to work here. I like doing it. It doesn’t feel like a job really, because I like it.
Q: Are there any relationships that you’ve been able to build with students that really impacted you? Are certain students in particular that you have stories about?
KINDRIX: Yeah, there are a lot of stories because someone always says something or… tells me something [that] I did not expect. Relationship-wise, there are students who tell me [that] they are getting bullied and stuff like that, and I don’t like that, so I want to give them a positive [outlook]. [I want to show them that] coming to school is not a bad thing. I don’t have particular students that I have stories about, but when you tell me a story about what’s going on in your life, I remember it. I always want to follow up and know more.
Q: Are there any details that you wish students knew more about in relation to the staff that works in the cafeteria or about you personally?
KINDRIX: I wish everybody knew how much dedication we have to the students. There is not one person [in the cafeteria] that does not care about the students. If they feel like they can’t eat anything, someone always wants to help. You can always eat! There’s no person that will turn you away. And something about me? I’m not as positive as I am made out to be. I mean, that’s probably a negative thing, but my view on the world is starting to change.
Q: What is making your views change?
KINDRIX: When I see that you guys are the future, [I know that we] have to treat the younger generation with respect. Kids are going to save us and if you are negative toward them or always trying to degrade them or put them down, it hurts. You should not make [students] feel like they are the bad guy. I always give kids the benefit of the doubt. That’s huge for me. Maybe they’re having a bad day. I don’t think there’s any bad person.
Q: How do you think we can all help each other?
KINDRIX: Most of the time [people want to do bad things] because they feel alone. If they are feeling down in the dumps, they can not give anything. I always want to give so people can give, too. That’s why I try to remember everyone’s names. There were some kids who would never talk to me and now they do— like a full-blown conversation. It feels so good. I love when you guys come and say “Hi” to me. I love all of that. It makes me feel good, because sometimes I’m like, ‘I want this day to be over,’ but as soon as lunch starts I’m like, ‘Nope! I’m ready! Let’s go!’