"Lausanne taught me a lot about myself. It taught me a better direction and that you can have a beautiful community no matter where you find yourself."
When Peggy Reed found herself at Lausanne Collegiate School 24 years ago, the campus looked very different.
Administration, Middle and Upper School all shared the same space, with carpool taking place right outside Lausanne's current lobby. Norfleet was the main gym, and the area now used for Dance, Music and Art classes was the library. Teachers taught from pushcarts, rolling to their designated space and the students would come to them.
"This last school year, with teachers doing the same during the pandemic around campus, I guess you could say things came full circle," Reed said.
During that first year on campus, Reed worked as the assistant to the head of Middle School in an office she shared with him. It was a small space, so Peggy had to find somewhere else to work when he had a meeting. But Lausanne was already beginning to grow, and the future of campus was starting to take shape.
"What is now called Tanner Hall and the Jappe Wing were completed my first year and the second floor added to Tanner, which was the new home of the Middle School," Reed said.
Things were changing for Peggy, as well. Her role on campus quickly expanded and she began working for the headmaster at the time, George Elder.
"It was very different for me because there was a lot of change going on in my position," Reed said. "However, things were becoming more organized and structured."
No matter the role, Reed said one of the best parts of the job has always been the students.
"I get to watch these kids grow up," Reed said. "The community of Lausanne affords you the ability to be a part of such a big family and get to know so many people. Every year at graduation, there are a few that I watch walk across the stage and remember them as little Lynx."
With so many students coming through the doors, she admits that a few seem to find their way to her office more than others. Some asked for advice, and others needed someone to listen. Reed has given more hugs than she can remember over the years.
"There are some students that stand out with me because they find me, and I take on the role of school mom," Reed said. "In the early days, cell phones didn't exist, so instead of calling mom, they wound up in my office talking with me."
Like the one student who had a problem with a button on his blazer. He had a habit of fidgeting with the button, and every couple of weeks, he would find himself in Reed's office after it would fall off and go missing. She would grab the needle and thread and re-attach it. Sometimes they would do it over a conversation, and other times he would leave it before class and come pick it up after he finished class.
"When he graduated, her gift to him was a needle and thread and the lesson of 'this is how you do it yourself.'" Reed shared.
That role of "campus mom" is one that she said she will always cherish.
She says that the family atmosphere on this campus is second to none.
"You realize how valuable and how much this community means to you," Reed said. "You spend so much of your time here. Often more than your own family. We work really hard here, but we also play really hard and enjoy each other. It is what makes this place so special."
The job "campus mom" became a much more challenging role when the campus was closed during the pandemic. Reed said technology made it possible for students and faculty to check-in with each other, but it also allowed her to make a difficult decision.
"Being at home with my mom during that time... realizing how much she needs me and how important that time with her was... helped me realize it was time to retire," Reed said. "Letting go of all of the work friendships has led this to be the most challenging decision I have ever had to make."
"I've worked for banks, attorneys, small businesses and schools and Stuart is the most fantastic boss I have ever had in my life," Reed said. "He has the biggest heart."
After a few months of coming to terms with the change, Reed says she's now ready for life after Lausanne and spending more quality time with her family and friends.
Traveling is on the agenda with trips to see the grandkids, meet up with friends and spend time on the beach. She has a group of friends she calls her "Ya-Ya Girls," a group of six best friends from high school who have stayed in touch and still travel together to this day. Oh, and fishing. Lots of fishing.
"I miss trout fishing so terribly much. I love it," Reed said.
To honor her 24 years of service to Lausanne, the school recently dedicated the Peggy Reed Admin Lobby in her honor.
"Peggy has contributed so much to Lausanne, and we'll be forever in her debt," Stuart McCathie shares. "Naming the lobby in her honor is a small way to make sure her warmth, kindness and dedication to this community remains part of Lausanne for years to come."
The moment she walks off campus the final time as an administrator, Reed will carry a part of Lausanne in her that she helped shape. The main thing she wants people to know about Lausanne as she heads off on her adventures?
"This is the healthiest and best work environment I have ever been a part of in my entire life," Reed said. "To watch these kids grow up and graduate and be successful and think that I might have had a tiny piece in that is so rewarding. As a student or faculty member, when you decide to come to Lausanne, you immediately realize the value of what you are getting."