Everyone knows that the people who make any company work smoothly are the secretaries. While that is also true at SI, the secretaries, especially in the days before coeducation, provided other essential services. For many of the boys, they were surrogate mothers, bandaging skinned knees, offering support and making the school a friendlier place.
Eda Bottini is the dean of these women. She began her career at SI on June 28, 1966, to help her sister, Emma Basso (then secretary to Principal Ed McFadden) work on the accreditation report. She and a young Mr. Sauer worked together on that document. In 1969, she went to work in the Dean’s office for Br. Draper. She left SI for one year, in 1977, and returned the following year to work for Fr. Carlin in the Development Office. She stayed there until 1984 when she returned to assist Br. Draper.
In 2004, Mrs. Bottini turned 81 and continued to commute to SI five days a week from her Redwood City home. “I always enjoy coming to work,” she noted. “If I ever retire, I think I’d be lost without SI.” She loves her job, she added, because “the students need mothering. I love working with them. They treat me with such respect, and I appreciate them.”
She also praised her colleagues on the clerical staff for working hard and as “fun to be with. I enjoy them all.” Br. Draper, with whom she has worked for 37 years, “is like a member of my family. I can always talk to Brother and confide in him. He has always been very kind to me.” Br. Draper and Fr. Carlin were among the Jesuits who consoled Eda when her husband died in 1990.
Mrs. Bottini loves working with the two deans — Br. Draper and Karen Cota — and with Fr. Warren Wright, SJ, who also assists in that office. While that office is among the busiest at SI, dealing with attendance and discipline, Mrs. Bottini never seems frazzled. She is the calm eye in the center of the hurricane, sitting quietly at her desk, getting her job done, helping, along with all the other secretaries, in the behind-the-scenes running of the school.
“Eda is surely the mother of SI,” said her good friend and secretary to the principal Karen Fisher. “She is a warm and welcoming face to students and parents, an antidote to the fear of being called down by Br. Draper to the Deans’ Office. Her mind and wit are sharp, and her stamina is amazing to continue to commute from Redwood City and work a full day.”
In 1996, religious studies teacher Paul Hanley ’63 created and published SI’s first web site. In its first year, 4,000 people visited it. While that figure may not seem great, back in the mid-’90s, those numbers were respectable. Hanley, who taught himself HTML editing, used animation and music to enhance the site, and he gathered students in the first web club and gave them a chance to have a hand in the web design. Europe Online ASBL honored Hanley for another of his web sites that offered information on Gaelic folklore and culture, giving it a “Best of Europe” designation. Thanks to Hanley, SI became one of the first Jesuit schools with a web presence and laid the groundwork for the www.siprep.org, now used by nearly every teacher and student to extend learning beyond the classroom.
Computer Coordinator Janet Reid and Fr. Ed Fassett, SJ, assistant to the principal, also worked in 1997 to modernize the school’s computer and phone network, adding fiber optic cables to bring the Internet to all the computers at SI, to create email accounts for all faculty, and to install a modern voice mail system. Reid spent much of her time training students and faculty to understand how best to integrate computers and the Internet into their curriculum.