Pam Tribble is literally the face of Pillow Academy.
When people walk into the junior high/high school building, they are most likely greeted with a big smile from Tribble. If someone calls, they usually get her cheerful voice on the other end.
Tribble, a 66-year-old Gulfport native and a former teacher at the school, is now in her 20th straight year as secretary for Pillow’s high school and junior high. She estimates that she takes around 100 calls per day.
“It can certainly get crazy around here, but I guess I always find a way to stay calm and get things done around here,” she said, while smiling and looking around her desk in the main office.
“It’s like any job, though; it can get a little frustrating at times ... The thing that gets me at times is the mass check-outs, and I can say that because I was definitely one of those moms, too.
“I guess I keep a smile through it all because I really don’t know any other way to do things.”
Tribble said it also helps to work with great people, whom she calls “family.”
So how does she always seem so composed and helpful on the phone when the calls start coming faster than she can take them?
“I love my job, and I love all these children here. That makes everything a little easier,” she said. “People ask me all the time when I might retire, and I tell them no time soon because this job is kind of like my mission.”
And Pillow certainly seems to love her back.
“Pam Tribble is often the first contact with parents via telephone or in person. She does a great job as the face of PA, and were are certainly lucky to have her here,” said Rodney Brown, head of the school.
Before she finishes the daily announcements in the morning, Tribble leaves the students with the same message: “Remember, love God first, and then love others as He loves you.”
And what happens if she gets busy and forgets?
“Students will come into the office and ask why I left it out,” she said. “It’s really become a neat thing that I try to always do.”
Tribble draws from her personal faith in an effort to try and spread God’s word. She has taught a 4-year-old Sunday school class for 12 years now at North Greenwood Baptist Church.
Pillow is more than just a school to Tribble. It’s her family — literally. All three of her children — Shelbi Tribble Lamb (1996), Melissa Tribble Martin (1999) and Martin Tribble Jr. (2007) — graduated from the school. Also, three of her four grandchildren attend Pillow.
“It’s been such a great place for our family. It means a lot to all of us,” Tribble said.
Tribble’s husband of 43 years, Martin Sr., is a member of the first high school graduating class and the first high school football team. He was recently named to the school’s athletic hall of fame and served two consecutive terms on the Pillow Academy Board of Directors from 1992-1998.
“It just all seems to come to Pillow for this family,” Tribble said, “and we like it that way.”
And, oh, by the way, Pam and Martin are expecting their fifth grandchild in February, so the list of Tribble family members at the school will continue to grow.
•Contact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or email@example.com.