PUHI — Margaret Sanchez, the Kauai Community College vice chancellor of student affairs, is a real go-getter, said Annie Rellin, secretary to the vice chancellor of student affairs.
“She’s really down to earth,” Rellin said. “And she’s smart.”
Rellin was settling the calendar for Sanchez Thursday morning, reflecting on her job which will end with her retirement on Nov. 30.
“The paperwork is in motion,” Rellin said. “Once you start it, you can’t reverse it because there is so much paperwork to go through with retirement, Social Security.”
Rellin’s career with KCC spans more than 48 years when the amount of benefits are tagged onto her years of service.
“I never took leave, other than maternity leave when I had my three children,” Rellin said. “We were lucky because we got maternity leave back. When I had my first child, it was leave with no pay. At the banks, ladies had to hide their pregnancies because if they found out, they had to leave their jobs. We had no rights.”
Rellin came to the college from a job with the bank.
“I have been working my whole life,” Rellin said. “I went to this college to study accounting. I took a month of secretarial training, and after graduating, was hired by Castaways (now the home of The Bull Shed restaurant). That was the day after graduation.”
During her tenure at Castaways, she became acquainted with Chuck Matsuwaki of First Hawaiian Bank, who offered her a position with the bank.
“My last day of work at Castaways was on a Friday,” Rellin said. “And the following Monday, I started work at First Hawaiian Bank. I’ve always been working.”
Guy Fujiuchi was a counselor at KCC, although it had a different name back then, Rellin said. Both he and Philip Palama were her first bosses at the college.
“We formed the first student services division,” Rellin said. “The college was in the small building across from the store on Lala Road leading to Kauai High School. I was hired as a 90-day hire, but lasted until now. That was another ‘work until Friday and start on Monday’ work experience.”
Rellin said the first student services operation encompassed “anything to do with the students,” including counseling, student government, veterans and more.
“It was the first time we were separated from Admissions,” Rellin said. “They sent me to Honolulu for a lot of training in everything, and we even helped during registration at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Those days, everything cost $45 at the college, but that was a lot of money. Those days, we got big fat reports and ledgers that we had to wait for. Today, everything is on computer, and it’s fast.”
As the days count down to her retirement, Rellin said the office has gotten busy.
“I’ve been working until 5:30, 6 p.m. almost nightly,” Rellin said. “I’ve had to go through all my records and found some pretty interesting things. Isaiah Ka‘auwai, the acting vice chancellor of student affairs before Margaret was hired, is even nice enough to have a party planned.”
Looking ahead, Rellin said she knows she’s volunteered to do taxes for AARP.
“That is, if I’m accepted,” she said. “I could volunteer with the Blood Bank since I hosted one of the drives where they collected a lot of blood. I don’t know. I going miss this place. I grew this place — it’s my baby.”