Connie Cappelli eager to play trombone, golf, exercise, and hang with family

Everyone wishes they had the skills of multitasking and being able to handle any situation well. There are only a few people in this world that are able to achieve that grace. One retiree who holds that magic is Connie Cappelli, the administrative assistant in the ARHS guidance office.  

Ms. Cappelli has worked in Amherst for about 23 years.

“I have loved it,” she said. “It’s been so much fun because I got to be with kids.”

During Ms. Cappelli’s 13 years of working at ARHS, she will have overseen the graduations of 13 classes, aided by two college advisors and 11 guidance counselors. “I loved working with all of them,” she said. “Each one is different, [and] I’ve learned how each one operates.”

Ms. Cappelli works with just about everyone in the guidance office and every single person always has something nice to say about her.

“Connie has been the warm and friendly face I have needed to greet me each morning and lift me up through even the most tiresome of days with her easy-going manner, willingness to help, empathy, and eternal optimism,” Guidance Department Head Lisa Zephyr said.

How has Ms. Cappelli been so successful throughout her thirteen years of working at ARHS is a question everyone asks themselves when they start to get to know her.

Ms. Tracy, administrative assistant to Assistant Principal Miki Gromacki, said, “she’s the right hand to my left, she’s my partner.”

Ms. Cappelli has been able to meet the needs of everyone who walks into the guidance office.

“She has the magical ability to make tearful teens break into a smile, and to help ratchet down a fired up parent who appears ready to bring down the house–several, several notches–so they can be more level headed before going into a meeting,” said Ms. Zephyr.  

“I will also miss the friendships I have made with all the clerical staff,” Ms. Cappelli said.

ARHS has been a huge part of Ms. Cappelli’s life for a very long time, and she said she has made many friendships and memories in the guidance office.

When not spending her time tending to teachers, students, and parents, she participates in many musical activities.

“I do community theatre, I sing, and I play in a hand bell choir,” she said. “I also play trombone in a big dance band and we do a dance every first Monday of every month,” she said. Many of her family members have also played trombone.

“I played in high school and middle school,” she said. “And I started in fourth grade. My dad played trombone, too.  I’m the oldest of three daughters. My two sons played trombone, my youngest sister’s husband played trombone, and so does her son.”

Zumbones was the name of her family band that once played for 2,000 people in Naples, Florida.

After the last day of school Ms. Cappelli will no longer spend hours working but will now be able to sit back and relax and do things that make her happy.

“I plan on spending more time playing golf, going to Florida in the cold, and spending time with my 9 year old grandson,”Ms.Cappelli said.

“I will probably read more, hopefully exercise more regularly, I’ll lower my golf handicap, and eventually, I’ll do some volunteer work,” she said.

All agree that she is deserving of retirement.

“Her job would send many people running for the hills, but she manages somehow to get it all done and never complains, even privately,” said College Advisor Myra Ross.

When asked what advice Ms. Cappelli would give the next guidance secretary, she said, “Stay  calm, no matter who is yelling at you or crying. And enjoy it.”