AP NEWS

After 21 years of at Valley Christian School, Triana Burrill is going back to college

May 11, 2018 GMT

TORRINGTON, Wyo. — After 21 years, office manager Triana Burrill will leave Valley Christian School to continue her college education.

Triana came to Wyoming in 1995 and worked at a Bible ranch by Glendo and later moved to Douglas to work as a paraprofessional, where she met her husband, David, a Goshen County teacher. At the time, the couple was planning for Triana to continue her education.

“Our intent was that I would go back to school and get a (special education) endorsement,” she said.

In the mean time, she took what was supposed to be a temporary position as a cook at VCS. By 2001, she was still working there, still cooking and also working as classroom assistant and teaching preschool music. That year, she became the school’s office manager and in 2006 took over as the bookkeeper.

She had never intended to stay. Triana completed three years of nursing school in college, until a family emergency kept her from finishing. She always intended to go back, but between the job, her work with the Gideon’s International, and the birth of her son, Timothy, it never happened.

Ultimately, Triana’s faith leads her to believe that staying in Torrington for so long was God’s plan.

“Any time you are in obedience to God’s will, you are serving Him,” she said. “We had plans for what I would do, but at that point we didn’t feel they were God’s will.”

Torrington has been her home for a long time, after years of roaming.

“I moved many, many times,” she said. “It wasn’t until I came here that I’d lived anywhere for longer than three years.”

Her official position at Valley Christian is office manager/bookkeeper, but the reality of the job is that she does whatever needs to be done.

“We’re a small school, so I wear a lot of hats,” she said. “I’m the owie-fixer, I’m the hugger, I’m the secretary.”

She maintains student records, is the school’s purchasing agent, acts as the school board’s treasurer, and has secretarial and administrative duties.

“It’s basically everything,” she said.

As the office manager, Triana was the first person students saw going in and out of the school’s front entrance.

“There are perks here,” she said, “in seeing the smiling faces of the kids every day as they grow. Because we go from preschool to fifth grade, many of these students you see all the way through.

“I get to invest in them and, since my husband is a middle school teacher, get to follow them through him.”

While she doesn’t get the same daily face-to-face interactions with students that teachers do, Triana has watched and been involved in 21 years worth of students.

“I’m not just the office person to them,” she said. “I’m a part of their lives.”

Since last fall, Triana has been training new office assistants to do her job as she prepares to go back to college in Cheyenne. She earned an associate’s degree this spring in social science and will continue to work on a business management degree this fall.

“I’m really just putting a degree behind what I already do,” she said.

Her favorite part of the job, though, is to watch students grow in maturity and faith. They throw off their own self-centeredness and begin to look at the world around them.

“The kids begin to connect the dots between what they learn academically and what they learn spiritually,” she said, “and are able to make the application to something that’s going on in their lives.”

She got to see that change firsthand when she was undergoing treatment for breat cancer.

“They didn’t fully understand what I was going through, but were able to connect that there’s an element of faith to being able to work, to being bald,” she said. “They’re able to make that association and pray for it.”

mark.gaschler@starherald.com