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This week, as it's been for four decades, Westside Elementary School children will see the welcoming face of Joyce Walen in the office as they pass by in the hall. Phil Pfuehler photo

Joy to her world

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She may be a few years older -- well, OK, 40 years older -- but secretary Joyce Walen says the thrill of Day One at school is the same as when Westside Elementary opened in September 1970.

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"What started as a job has become a passion," she says with her usual exuberance.

The 61-year-old Walen said the passage of time is fleeting.

"No, it never occurred to me that I'd be here this long," she said last week. "The years have simply gone by, and now it's 40 years later.

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