CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
A recent study by the University of Queensland has found that a vast majority of primary and secondary school front office receptionists go by the name of ‘Deb’.
The research, which was conducted at the St Lucia campus, sampled a school from each local council across both NSW, QLD and WA.
UQ Professor Mal Tuqiri says that when it comes to volunteer roles within the Australian school system, most of the blue-card carrying women rotating through the front of office of any given school, usually go by the same name.
“What we have found is that 83% of front office receptionists in Australian schools are known as either ‘Deb’ or some variation of ‘Deborah'” he says.
Deborah (Hebrew: דְבוֹרָה) is a feminine given name derived from דבורה D’vorah, a Hebrew word meaning “bee” – a fitting origin for the name, considering how busy the modern wave of Deborah’s are, between organising school fetes and keeping an eye on the kids that have been sent to the principals waiting room.
Deborah was a heroine and prophetess in the Old Testament Book of Judges. In the US and Australia the name was most popular from 1950 to 1970, when it was among the 20 most popular names for girls.
Professor Tuqiri says the current generation of Debs in Australian school front offices are the most influential ever.
“They are very involved in their local school and are always given a huge bouquet of flowers at the speech night awards because of their selflessness.”
“They almost always cry during these ceremonies, because they love those kids,”
Professor Tuqiri has also stated that most Australian schools couldn’t run without Debs. He points out that they play many roles within the confines of the school fences.
“Nearly all of them are volunteers, but some do get paid. It really comes down to how much of a Deb they are. Some will help out with athletics carnivals as well, the ones that put in the extra Debs end up on the payroll”
“Australian kids would be at a loss without these Debs, sometimes Debbie if they have a more bubbly personality”