After twenty-six years, school aide Maxine Kupersmith retires from THHS


Chayti Biswas

Ms. Kupersmith, staff at Townsend Harris for 26 years.

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This year, staff member Maxine Kupersmith is retiring from Townsend Harris High School after working in her position for 26 years. 

Ms. Kupersmith has decided to conclude her journey and begin a new chapter in her life with her loved ones. “My husband is retiring, so I’m probably going to go traveling. I also have my friends that are teachers who are also retiring, so I’m going to be doing things with them and going places together,” she said. 

Since she first started working at THHS in 1997, Ms. Kupersmith has undertaken a variety of roles, ranging from working in guidance, offering assistance in the lunchroom, to currently helping Ms. Laverde in the library and distributing working papers to students. She revealed the drastic change in the library’s atmosphere throughout her years of working at THHS, explaining that “it’s more fun in the library now with Ms. Laverde, [as] she has a lot more fun books.” She said, “It’s been really wonderful working with her.” 

Prior to working at THHS, Ms. Kupersmith worked for the Assistant President of the International Division at Mcmillan Publishing Company. She also worked for Holt, Rinehart, and Winston as the Editor-in-Chief of the school science department, and later worked at the Cambridge University Press for the college department. Additionally, Ms. Kupersmith discovered her love for writing poetry in her early twenties, and shared a poem with The Classic regarding her retirement: 

Leaving Townsend Harris High

By Maxine Kupersmith

Working for Townsend Harris all these years was a blast, 

Seeing people going, some of them returning

This time, I’m the one whos leaving

It was a joyous experience of fun

Knowing and working with everyone 

Ms. Kupersmith also shared her reaction after receiving the opportunity to work at THHS. She explained that while she was going around different schools in search of employment, the front desk staff of THHS informed her that no one was permitted upstairs, whereas all the other schools allowed her into the office. Yet, in the following weeks, she expressed that she was thrilled to have heard a call back from the APO, who had offered her the job. “A lot of people know somebody and have connections, but I did it all by myself and I’m proud of that,” said Ms. Kupersmith. 

Librarian Arlene Laverde commented on Ms. Kupersmith’s hard working attitude and pride in fulfilling her job. She recalled the moments when there was downtime in the library, and Ms. Kupersmith would continue searching for tasks to complete, seeing as “she doesn’t like to not be busy… [since] her relaxing is working.” She further described how her friendship with Ms. Kupersmith resembled a mother-daughter relationship. “I tell her all the time, ‘you’re just like my mother, you drive me crazy’— but in the kindest way possible, because I truly do love her like my mother and I know she cares about me. She’s just a good human, and people need to know that about her. I really am going to miss her,” said Ms. Laverde. 

Assistant Principal of Organization Ellen Fee described Ms. Kupersmith as a “committed member of the school support community… [who] always thinks of the students first, and has been such an essential part of our support staff team.” She spotlighted Ms. Kupersmith’s dedication to distributing working papers, describing it as a “small but critical job that has giant consequences because students cannot get a job without them.” 

Staff member Antonella Cinquemani recounted the fond memories she had with Ms. Kupersmith, expressing how “she is a very lovable person who would always have the patience to tell and explain things to me.” She said, “There is a time in your life when you have to retire and enjoy life, and she has been working so hard all these years, so I think now is her time.”

Junior monitor Irene Seuk highlighted Ms. Kupersmith’s integral role in maintaining the productivity and organization of the library, as she “always made sure that the library was well taken care of.” Irene also commented on her helpful and soft demeanor, saying, “When I first started as a monitor, she showed me the ropes. I’ll miss listening to her stories about her family life. She would also listen to the library monitors’ stories and give us her advice.” 

Overall, Ms. Kupersmith reflected on the joyous and memorable time she had at THHS. “It was a fabulous experience that I did not think I was going to have. I love the students and my co-workers, and I am going to miss them dearly— especially my monitors and the ones that come by to say hello or talk,” she said. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story described Ms. Kupersmith as having been an Assistant President for Mc Nolan Publishing Company. Ms. Kupersmith worked for the Assistant President of the International Division at Mcmillan Publishing Company.