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Hidden Heroes: In recognition of Elizabeth “Liz” Prado

Elizabeth+Liz+Prado%2C+the+office+manager+of+Foothill+Technology+High+School+%28Foothill+Tech%29%2C+is+a+vital+part+of+the+community%2C+helping+run+the+school+from+her+small+yet+influential+office+located+at+the+heart+of+Foothill+Techs+administration+building.+She+welcomes+everyone+with+a+kind+smile+and+charming+personality%2C+always+willing+to+help+everyone+in+need.+She+is+such+a+vital+part+of+our+community+and+can+be+easily+considered+as+one+of+Foothill+Techs+hidden+heroes.
Lauren Kaller
Elizabeth “Liz” Prado, the office manager of Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech), is a vital part of the community, helping run the school from her small yet influential office located at the heart of Foothill Tech’s administration building. She welcomes everyone with a kind smile and charming personality, always willing to help everyone in need. She is such a vital part of our community and can be easily considered as one of Foothill Tech’s hidden heroes.

Dew still sparkles on blades of grass, the drowsy birds have barely launched their morning birdsong and the sun has just begun its daily trek across the sky. Yet there is someone already hard at work in Foothill Technology High School’s (Foothill Tech) office building. As the office manager, Elizabeth “Liz” Prado has been arriving to work at 6:30 a.m. nearly every school day for the past 23 years. Prado’s role is essential: she supports the principal (Russell Gibbs), manages the payroll, schedules substitute teachers and enters numerous orders for the school. Serving Foothill Tech since it was established in 2000, she has become an integral part of the community. 

Prado grew up in Ventura, Calif. and has been loyal to Ventura Unified School District (VUSD) from a young age, graduating from Ventura High School (Ventura). She even has family who attends and works for the school district to this day. “I do have a grandson who goes to Ventura, and then my daughter subs throughout the district,” Prado stated. 

I love it here. The students and staff make my job easier – you guys really do.

— Liz Prado

Outside of school life, however, Prado expressed interest in all things Disney. “I have two cats,” she explained, “Timon and Stitch. As you can tell, they’re named after Disney characters because we’re big Disney fans, too.” She added how she goes to Disneyland quite often, and her favorite Disney movie is “Cinderella.” 

Prado is also a fan of basketball, hockey and football. “I just love sports in general, but I’m a big Lakers fan … in football I like the Dolphins or the Chiefs,” she said. She is also a fan of the Los Angeles Kings. Sports are a common topic she discusses with other teachers, such as Wayne Powers, Math Two Honors and Advanced Placement Calculus BC (AP Calc BC) teacher.

Regarding her job, Prado has stated her joy and enthusiasm in interacting with the people of Foothill Tech. The office manager always makes sure to make her office a welcoming space for anyone and explained how her favorite part of work was how every day is different. “You never know what the day is gonna bring,” she noted. When asked if there was anything she wishes people would do more often, Prado expressed that she always appreciates when people come by to greet her in her office. “Cause I know they’re busy, but it’s nice. I think this year I’ve met more students, too … I love it when they just come in and say ‘hi’!” she explained. 

From the day I got here, she took me right in; I immediately felt cared for and like someone was looking after me.

— Wayne Powers

Prado is greatly appreciated by all of Foothill Tech’s staff members. According to Nicole Hofferbert, the student data technician, things would simply not be the way they are without her. “I believe that [Prado] is the historian of this school. She’s been here since the beginning, and she’s the backbone. You can go to her for anything,” Hofferbert said.

Powers, who has been teaching for 30 years and eight of which have been spent with Prado, holds a very similar perspective. “Yeah, I just think she’s wonderful. Every day [she’s] always asking me questions about personal things, shares her personal things with me, but she’s always business when she needs to be business. Just could not be better in any way,” he said.

Another long-term staff member, Cherie Eulau, World History Honors and Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics (AP Gov) teacher summarizes this by stating, “If you want to know anything about anything, you go to [Prado]. And I’ve always appreciated how prepared she is, how organized she is, it’s just wonderful and she’s really the backbone of the school in many, many ways.”

We are all dependent on [Prado], the school would actually fall apart without her.

— Cherie Eulau

As a result of her experiences, Prado concludes by giving great advice to students of Foothill Tech. For graduating seniors, she advises them to take risks. “Don’t be afraid to make risks,” she said, “You know, it’s how we learn, and change is always good, even though that’s hard, too. Take it from me, I made some big changes and I loved it! Just gotta make that big step.” When asked if she had any advice for incoming freshmen and the younger audience, she stated, “I think it’s important to have a good education, [because] you guys are our future, and you’re going to be running the world soon … I know sometimes it’s hard, the pressure of classes and homework and everything, but if you can do it, you’ll go [to] a lot of places.” 

All throughout the community of Foothill Tech, Prado is recognized by everyone as the hard-working, compassionate and dedicated backbone of the school. Without her, Foothill Tech could simply not be the way it is now. Prado wrapped up, with a final word to all students, “I think it’s important to enjoy life, have a good balance. It’s good to do good in school, but it’s also good to have fun … Have a good balance [in] life as you’re going through school.”

Sofia Patiño
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About the Contributors
Jane Kim, Writer
First-year writer with a passion for music, current events and science.
Kalea Eggertsen, Writer
Aspiring fiction author and first-year writer who has been at it ever since she could hold a pencil.
Sofia Patiño, Videographer
Second-year journalist and Frank Ocean enthusiast.
Lauren Kaller, Photographer
6'4" baller. 

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