Manila school nurse wears many hats

Friday, January 21, 2005
Manila school nurse Judy Mace is available to students K-12. She is returning a student's lost tooth that has been safely placed in a plastic tooth necklace. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

Judy Mace, Manila school nurse, has been on the job for almost 20 years. Miss Judy, as she is called by the students, has wiped away the "first day" tears of many kindergarten students. For many of those same students, she offered a pat on the back as they graduate from MHS.

Mace grew up in Marked Tree, graduating from Marked Tree High School. After completing nursing school she worked as school nurse at Marked Tree for five years before joining the Manila School staff.

She attended nursing school at Jonesboro School of Nursing where she earned an associate degree in nursing. She has been working as a nurse for 33 years. During the early years of her career she worked in doctor's offices, hospitals and emergency rooms.

"I wouldn't trade being a school nurse for anything," she said.

Being the school nurse allowed Mace to be with her own children during their growing up years. They shared the same hours, holidays and summer vacations.

Miss Judy is married to Vance Mace. They have two children, Jason and Ginger.

Jason and his wife, Coutney, have a daughter, Callie, and are making plans for twins due to be born in July. Jason is a Manila Police officer. Ginger and her husband, Tony Johnson, live in Jonesboro.

Miss Judy works K-12 at the school. She has an office in the elementary building but has smaller offices with supplies in all of the buildings. She is available throughout the day by radio contact. When she gets an emergency call from across campus, she discovers she can still run fast.

The school nurse has more duties than just giving out Band Aids even though that does help a lot of scratches for the younger students. Miss Judy is in charge of vision and hearing tests as well as scoliosis screening, body mass screening, distributing medications to students on daily meds, and offers general first aid. She sometimes takes children home if they need a ride and comforts the ones that do not feel well until their parents arrive.

"The school nurse is an important part of our staff," Principal Diane Baugher said. "We call on her often."

In addition to her nursing duties, Mace is available during extra curricular activities such as the fall festival.

She also served as cheerleading sponsor for seven years.

"People do not realize how much time it takes, day and night, to serve as a cheerleading sponsor," Mace said. "We had practice in the afternoons, games at night, and camps in the summer. I enjoyed the years I worked with the girls."

Several years ago Mace started serving as crossing officer in the afternoons. She makes sure that the children get to their rides or across the busy street safely. She also works basketball games taking money at the door.

In addition to her duties at school, she sometimes works with Dale Poag in the barbecue sales business.

Mr. and Mrs. Mace work as a team as he auctions for Ducks Unlimited and Turkey Federation and she keeps the books, another project they undertake.

Miss Judy's schedule is never too busy for family or to help out a friend.

"The years have gone by quickly," Mace said. "I do like working with the students at Manila and watching them grow up. Hopefully, when they are all grown they will look back at their school years and have good memories. I am also very grateful that my husband is very supportive in the activities I do."

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