It’s fitting that Marjo Mulderink’s initials are M and M. She’s a big fan of the chocolate candy that melts in your mouth, not in your hand. In fact, she has an extensive collection of M&M memorabilia - more than 1,000 items! There are M&M figurines of every size, from teeny tiny to four feet tall. There are curtains, clothing and calendars; jars, dishes and dispensers; earrings, necklaces and watches. They’re all adorned with the colorful candy characters and they’re all on display in the attendance office at Laredo Middle School.
“You’ve never seen anything like it!” said seventh-grader Maggie Robben, who learned about the decorations in the attendance office from her two older brothers, well before she was a Laredo student. She loves stopping by to see the collection and say hello to “Ms. Marjo,” who is the attendance office secretary.
Ms. Marjo wants the office to be a place where students feel welcome.
“When you get called to the attendance office you think you’re going to get in trouble and it shouldn’t be that way,” Mulderink said. “I want our students, especially new students, to know this is a safe place, a fun place.”
AVID tutor Ann McNider, whose daughter attended Laredo, believes Mulderink has succeeded.
“I think our students enjoy going in there. It has such a homey, different feeling, and Marjo is always very kind and concerned. She gives you a good feeling,” McNider said.
Mulderink says her collection originally belonged to her son. When he went away to college, she decided to bring it in to the office. Ten years later, it’s become a Laredo legend.
“Ms. Marjo is a staple in the Laredo school community,” said Principal Mike Giles. “She truly cares about all of the kids who come through our doors each day. As the attendance secretary, she holds kids accountable to her high standards and expectations. However, she does this daily with a smile and a personality that is just as sweet as the M&M's she's become famous for!”