Courtesy of Janet Fine
The crisp autumn air greeted Janet Fine as she found her way out of the building leaving her interview to be WHHS’ Senior Accounting Technician. She remembered that it was a chilly day in the middle of November of 2013 and left school that day feeling hopeful.
“I was surrounded by students and the kids in front of me were talking about what temperature the air had to be for your breath to cause condensation and when I heard that conversation I knew that Walnut was unique because I felt like I would have never heard that conversation [at any other school]… good things were happening here and I was just happy to be a part of it,” Fine said.
That’s when Fine was assured that WHHS was where she wanted to spend the next seven years of her life and the rest of her teaching career.
“I’d always heard good things about Walnut,” Fine said. “My friend and I worked together at Withrow and we talked about wouldn’t it be great if we could go to Walnut… It just so happened that we both started working at Walnut on the same day. She was the lead secretary, Mrs. Kuethe, and she retired last year.”
After working in CPS schools for 30 years and in WHHS for seven, Fine decided to retire in December of 2020.
Fine’s role as Senior Accounting Technician consisted of handling all the student activities, the accounting, purchasing, banking and keeping track of how much money clubs were spending to make sure they were following state and district regulations. She worked on many of the behind-the-scenes jobs that keep WHHS running smoothly with different jobs throughout the year.
“She took her job very seriously and did everything to the best of her ability and she went above and beyond and everything that she did,” Amanda Siler, College Information Center Director and Fine’s daughter, said
“All my life I’ve worked with numbers and I’ve always enjoyed working with numbers,” Fine said. “I like numbers and then being at school. I loved working with the kids and the teachers and just helping the different groups be able to do field trips and handle the accounting.”
Although Fine wasn’t directly involved with a specific club or organization, she played an important role in all the student-run clubs at WHHS. She helped club presidents and their advisors with their accounts, processing purchases and donations.
“At Walnut I really enjoyed interacting with the kids because I didn’t get to do that so much with my other jobs but Walnut has a very active student body, so I got to see the kids and what they’re doing a lot more than I did at the other schools,” Fine said.
Planning for the annual Hawaii trip with science teacher and Bio Eco Club advisor Alexandra Mondini was one of the club activities Fine looked forward to the most.
“I thought what Mrs. Mondini was doing with the students and all the trees they planted was exciting,” Fine said. “I always liked hearing their statistics when they came home.”
Her job was always expanding through the years because of WHHS’ growing student body and increase in interest regarding starting new clubs. Especially after the honors program doubled, staying on top of the workload became one of Fine’s greatest challenges.
“I think the hardest part was trying to do more work in the same number of hours. It became challenging and I was spending really more time than I wanted to but it was all good.” Fine said.
One of her favorite parts of working at WHHS was the positive work environment and her supportive co-worker. Through her years she got the pleasure of getting to know many of the advisors and some of the counseling staff.
“There were always people who would help me out like Mrs. Kuethe, we would always help each other out when she was there,” Fine said.
She worked with many staff members of WHHS and was also close with counseling secretary, Jennifer Meininger. “She really enjoyed the people she worked with, I think her favorite part was getting to know the students and faculty and the friendships she built here.” Siler said.
When asked about who she enjoyed working alongside, Fine said, “Mrs. Meininger in the counseling office. She was always willing to help.”
“I’m thankful for the time I had at CPS, I think that I was very fortunate to be there,” Fine said. “I loved being at Walnut because they give their students so many opportunities. I wish that all CPS schools give their kids the same opportunities because Walnut was such a special place to me.”
Along with all the people who’ve impacted fine while she’s worked at WHHS, she also changed her perspective on education and how she viewed school, “I think Walnut changed my mindset about education… seeing the students and what they were able to accomplish,” Fine said. “I love seeing what happens to the kids after they left [WHHS]. I really liked seeing that the kids here took full advantage of the education they could get and all the opportunities… it just gave me hope for the future.”
Even though she’s retired from WHHS, Fine picked up three new part-time jobs since December. “I was going stir crazy not working, I didn’t realize how much I loved to work,” she said.
Fine has grown up and lived in Cincinnati for her whole life. She plans on staying in Cincinnati during retirement.
Other than continuing to work, she’s been spending more time with her family and catching up on home projects. She plans on devoting more time to finding some new hobbies to fill her time. Fine also hopes to start a financial coaching business to help people create budgets and with their financing. “I want to teach people to have control of their money and not feel like their money is controlling them,” she said.
Looking back, Fine enjoyed her career at all the CPS schools she worked at and hopes she’s played an important role in WHHS’ community.
“I hope that I was able to help the clubs and anybody who I was involved with,” Fine said. “I hope I helped them accomplish their goals… I always tried my best to make things happen for whoever needed me so I’m hoping that I made a difference in their lives.”