The Men (and Women) behind the Madness


The Tech Department plays an important role in the Hockaday community

Open the door to the Liza Lee Academic Research Center. Proceed forward. Summit the first flight of stairs, no matter how tempting the elevator seems. Take a deep breath. Continue up the stairs. Peer out the window and see middle school PE students running on the track. If you are feeling adventurous, jog up the last flight of stairs. After 60 stairs (which feel like 160) you have made it to the third floor of the LLARC: home of the Modern Publications Suite, the designated super-silent Upper School library and the tech help desk: a powerhouse.

What am I referring to, you ask? While the rest of the Hockaday community carries on a somewhat leisurely day, the Help Desk constantly buzzes with a different kind of energy. Although problems are being solved in classrooms all over the school, technology problems find their solutions here.

When you find yourself here it only means one thing: computer problems. Everyone with a computer at Hockaday constantly asks them to replace hard drives, repair cracked screens and find missing files. These people behind the garage door (which serves to close the Help Desk when not open for business), start their day knowing they will only hear problems and complaints. Their job is to assist with all of the behind-the-scenes technology issues, almost wearing superman capes; they’re always there to save the day, no matter how large or complicated the problem might be.

Junior Kate Jones relies on the Technology Help Desk to fix an array of computer problems that her Lenovo presents, including printer problems.

“Tech pretty much deals with any little problem I have,” Jones said.

Although most issues that arise at the Help Desk are similar to those of Jones’, those who work there have faced their fair share of confusing yet riveting problems. One of the most famed stories from the teach desk was rooted in a tiny insect.

Lee Haller, a computer technician at the Help Desk who is rounding out his 21st year at Hockaday, describes the problem, denoting that it frequently occurs in technology lives.

“Recently we had a laptop computer be invaded by ants. We opened it up and it had colonies growing in it, of ants,” Haller said. “We don’t know where they came from or how they even got into the laptop.”

This job description is not for everyone. With the crazy technology issues and the wonky schedule, it varies greatly from a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job that many adults take on. On duty and off duty, technology problems constantly lie on the minds of the technology workers.

During a typical day, the people at the Help Desk respond to calls from teachers via telephone about both Smartboard and general computer issues. A normal day consists of 20 or so calls from teachers.

Concerning student visits, though, every day is different.

“It can range anywhere from 10, which is a very slow day, to about 40 to 45 in a day, and that keeps us very, very, very busy,” Hall said, with humor.

According to a survey of the Upper School’s students, faculty and staff, most often seek assistance for their computers. However, many teachers seek help via telephone for other technological devices, such as SmartBoards.

Braxton Hall, Help Desk Technician at the window, was originally drawn to technology because of the constant change that it provided. After working as a security guard within the Hockaday community, Hall found it a great place to learn and continued his Hockaday journey through the Technology Department.

“There is always something new whether it is a new problem or a new development, improvement. And I like the challenge of constant newness,” Hall said.

Haller agrees with the differences that Hockaday presents when it comes to the Technology Department. According to Haller, tech support at Hockaday is unlike that outside of our community.

“I have done tech support for a long time and this job was an opportunity for me to get out of the corporate world and get into a different kind of place,” Haller said.

Haller, Hall and their other nine associates provide constant support to the staff and students of all divisions regarding computer and SmartBoard issues. By each tackling different specialties and areas of the school, technology at Hockaday is able to run smoothly. Additionally, the Technology Department is constantly dealing with problems from outside influences, like Office 365 and Haiku.

By helping technology run smoothly for the students, Haller believes he helps the girls accomplish their jobs as students.

“I have realized over the years is that girls have a job to do and that is to learn. The computer facilitates that job. When the computer breaks they cannot do their job; they get upset. So what we try and do is get them something that works, even if it is an older computer, something that they can type on and work on and we comfort them in the fact that we are going to get it repaired,” Haller said.

But sometimes the job is not as smooth and tensions can run high at the Help Desk. Although Haller and his team are there to unload the burden of computer issues, some girls become frantic when assignments get lost. The element of patience must be added to this job description.

Hall stresses the importance of listening when computer problems arise.

“Remind yourself that you can handle any situation, you just need to take time and be patient and listen,” Hall said.

The Help Desk also reminds girls that a computer is technology and it might break; things happen. Although it is frustrating, stuff happens.

Mary Claire Wilson- Sports and Health Editor