AV Technician decides to retire after 26 years at school

May 2, 2019 — by Elaine Toh

Audio visual technician Gordon Blancett is a staff member many students may not know by name, but he has long been a jack of all trades in the school’s library and technology department.

If an overhead projector or a speaker system doesn’t work, he has often been the first person a teacher contacts for a fix. He also does a variety of jobs in the library, from checking out classroom sets of textbooks to making sure the organization for textbook checkouts are set.

But after 26 years at the school, he thinks now is the time to retire.

“I'm 64,” Blancett said. “I started the job when I was 38. I just feel like it's time to do something different.”

After finishing a 20-year career in the Air Force in 1992 and working for a year in the private sector, Blancett applied for a job opening as the school’s AV technician and got the job in 1993.

He has seen huge changes during his time at the school in terms of technology and the school’s approach to using it and fixing it.

Despite equipment changing all the time, Blancett said he can still help fix and work through any problems that arise.

“I pretty much will fix anything,” Blancett said. “I always said, ‘If it has a cord attached to it, I'll work on it.’”

Additionally, Blancett helps textbook technician Nada Macesic in with doing textbook distribution during the day, while Macesic is operating the copy room. He is also responsible for the set-up for textbook distributions in August.  

“He is easy to work with,” librarian Kevin Heyman said. “He is really responsible and very knowledgeable.”

Through his nearly three decades at the school, Blancett has seen many changes. Still, Blancett said the biggest change was the improvement of school facilities, specifically the modernization of classrooms.

“It took [the school] years to figure out that gray is not the best color for schools and that there should be some earth tones,” Blancett said.  

Now, as he prepares for his retirement, Blancett wants to travel to Europe, since he has never visited there, and perhaps to China, Vietnam and Cambodia as well.

He is usually off work in the month of July, but sometimes, the break is not enough time for all that he would like to do. However, Blancett said that he will miss his co-workers, the staff and the students.

Blancett enjoys being around the students, even though he doesn't interact with them as much as teachers and some other staff members do. When he does talk to them, he likes to mess around and joke with the students by telling them “No” when they ask to check out a book.

“It's always been fun to stop people in the tracks of thinking, and watch their expressions because suddenly they have to regroup,” he said. “It's just one of the things I've always done since I've been here.”

In the end, while Blancett is excited for his retirement, he admits that a part of him will miss being at work here.

“I'm happy that I'm retiring. But in a way, it's kind of sad,” Blancett said. “It’s just that this era of my life is coming to an end. I can come back and visit, but it's like once you leave home. You go back to visit, but you’re never really home.”