Myrtle “Mom” McLaughlin

My Inspiration

Most educators decide to be involved in this field because they truly want to make a difference for the future. Unfortunately most find this to be much harder than what they see on movies (in fact most teachers quit within the first 5 years). There are, however, a few who really make a significant impact on generations of students, and these educators become an inspiration to the rest of us. I had the pleasure of being a student while one such amazing person was an educator. Myrtle “Mom” McLaughlin was a security guard at my high school (along with Mike Tomco who was also amazing) and she was able to create this kind of impact on Dimond High School over the years. She was so loved by the students at Dimond that she was affectionately called mom by nearly every student who went to school there. During her career she had a number of projects that she kept completely to herself that helped the less fortunate students at our school. Not only would she personally pay for student lunches if a student couldn’t afford it but she created a system of getting prom dresses for young girls who didn’t have the money to afford them. When she finally retired she had a retirement party thrown for her where hundreds of students and from her decades of service came back to thank her for all she did (something quite similar to the end of Mr. Hollands Opus). I truly don’t feel capable of explaining the level of impact she had on our school so I post the article from the local newspaper on here and open up the site to comments from the outside.

Mike Tomco

No conversation about Mom is complete without talking about Mr. Tomco also. The two always spoke about each other in terms of not being able to do what they did without the other one there to help. I recall a conversation I had with Mr. Tomco around the time of Mom’s retirement where clearly said that he wasn’t really excited about working the job without being able to do so with Mom. So while, this page is inspired by some of the amazing things that Mom did for us, I also want to remember Tomco for everything he did. On top of his work in the security office he was also the best football coach I ever worked with and probably the best Dimond high ever had (in my opinion).


  1. Annette Hahn Fugitt

    What a wonderful tribute to a woman who helped shape the lives of so many. Even when she may not have even known it. I graduated in 1996, and Mom was every bit a part of my educational experience as ️math class, theater, and wrestling. She will never fully realize the extent of her reach, and that’s okay. I can say with certainty, she has touch this former student who strives to reach students half as well as she did.

  2. Oscar Shaw IV

    From the first day I walked the halls of Dimond High, I knew who was in charge. Mom was super friendly and intimidating at the same time. I knew that if I didn’t act civil, there would be a price to pay. She cared for every one of the students and he heart is as big as the Pacific Ocean. She was definitely an inspiration in my life.

    • Stephanie Flood

      I saw Mom often, I would be at school swimming in the wee hours, mom would see me still wet from practice and say “how’s the water today.” I would respond you should find out for yourself. she would laugh and tell me to hurry up to class and that a king sized snickers bar is not considered breakfast. Out of all the staff she is the one I remember the most.

  3. Brent Dunlap

    Wow that is an amazing tribute, she is one of the best people I have ever had the privilege to meet. She assisted and followed me to many classes to ensure my attendance. I am not shocked at the outcry of love from many of the prior students.

  4. Samantha Phelps

    Ms. McLaughlin and Mr. Tomco are Dimond High. Going to school there in the 80s, they were such a huge part of what made it such a great school. They were scary but kind, firm but fair, and most of all they truly cared about the kids at Dimond. Great article. Brings back great memories.

  5. Jackie

    Mom was a defining figure in my life. She was tough yet calm, cool, and collected at all times never missing a beat.
    She is someone who knew exactly what to ask and you could turn to her for real advice not the standard blanket responses, she really cared and it showed in her deeds.
    She was always fair and saw through the crap dealt to her daily in lame excuses, stealing, and fights. She also enjoyed a good prank and always knew how to find the source. She had a way of commanding respect without demanding it.
    I doubt that she ever missed a day.
    Her work ethic was rare because she enjoyed what she did and it showed. She was always on the move or scanning both visually and audibly.
    They should create an autonomous robot version of her to roam the halls.


    Wow what can I say , IF Mom was not there at Dimond , I would not have graduated,She would watch for me because i rode the city bus to school for 2 years, she had this special way of Treating you like you were family, some days she even offered lunch money or a shoulder to cry on ,I couldnt have felt more at home. She always remembers me , i have her beautiful words and signature on my 12th grade yearbook, SHE NEVER FORGOT MY NAME, I LOVE YOU MYRTLE, MOM , !!!LOVE, ROBIN YOUNG 1982 GRADUATE XO

  7. Rebecca Schwab

    Mrs. McLaughlin worked as a Security Officer when I was at Dimond with my sister and brother. She had a sidekick aka partner in crime, Mr. Tomco. When I would see Mrs. McLaughlin in the hallway, I would say hi and sometimes when I would be out of class. I see her in the hallway getting after one of the students and say their name and tell them to get to class. She is a very nice lady and everyone wouldn’t call her Mrs. McLaughlin, they would call her mom. I just saw her not to long ago and I didn’t recognize but I did get to talk to her and she was doing great. Congratulations, Mrs. McLaughlin! I wish you all the best as you retire. You don’t have to worry about getting up from work. Just relax and do some traveling when you can.

  8. Misty Frank Jaeger

    MOM!!!!! Class of ’81…..You will NEVER understand the impact you had on my Life. No I wasn’t one of the more ‘problem’ children’ but your Love and Higher Standards helped me raise myself up to be a better person, friend and Mother. When I saw this article; I was immediately transported to being in front of you ‘Eye Balling’ me like ‘ Young Lady you are NOT going ‘snow’ me. I’m on to you AND I Love You anyway’ Thank you for loving me the way you did! Please send me an email when you can, I want to come see you! I’m in North Central Oregon.

    Misty Frank

  9. Jennifer Vasko

    Because of “Mom” I was given a chance! She listened when no one else did. She trusted that my story was my own and that the truth behind it would come out. She did what any mother would do and she protected me. I don’t know if she would ever remember the day she changed my life, but I was so blessed to finally have someone on my side. I am where I am today because of her, it couldn’t have been easy standing up to a parent, a strong bullheaded parent at that, but she knew what was right and turned my life…that had been full of fear into a life full of love. There are not enough words to tell how I truly feel, so I am blessed to have had the chance to be known by her. Thank you for everything.

  10. Shane Reeves

    Mom had such an impact on me while I went to Dimond. I remember coming back a couple years later when my younger siblings were there, and she recognized me from behind. She is the kind of person who projects this sense of caring that makes you wanna do better. Thanks for being such a wonderful lady.

  11. Christina Jones (Billington)

    Dimond High School was blessed to have Mclaughin and Tomco. They have what I will call constructive discipline. They always reached out and went beyond the problem to get to its core to help others realize why making better choices is more than just following a rule. Their selfless compassion in the success of their students is remarkable. They had a knack for knowing when trouble was brewing. They didn’t just wait for trouble to occur. They helped kids learn how to resolve a conflict before it became a real problem. They constantly watched out for their students, directing them in making better choices or help find a better direction when they may have seemed lost. They are the saints of helping this world raise good people. I feel blessed to have had them as a part of my life. They always encouraged me to do better and offered a hand to help me get back on my feet when I was down. They will always have a place in my heart.

  12. Carrie Fredrick

    Mom was the best thing to haopen to the class of ’92…..she didnt make me serve detention thatvwas assigned because she said thtat i didnt deserve it. Our graduaion year she ordered pizza for all of her “kids”. We were the crowd that hung out in the parking lot and smoked.cigarettes. We were soecial to her because i we could be honest with her and she would tell us how it was….goid or bad….and we accepted whatever she said as gospel. I had a baby one year after school and she bought my daughters first halloween costume. I cried that day. One day, in my junios year, she pulled me into her office and asked me “Why do you care about others at the expense of yourself?” i never even noticed that i did that. Mom made me aware of myself and for that i will always be thankful that she was in my life. If i could see her now i would wrap my arms around her and probably never let go.

  13. Autumn smith

    I’m one of the lucky students who mom helped. I wouldn’t have graduated without her support. Being a shoulder to cry on and sharing inspirational words to help me through a bad time. Love this woman unconditionally!

  14. Juli Webster

    Mom kept me and my friends out of trouble so many times just by asking…Is that your best decision? She was right more times then she was ever wrong (has she ever been wrong?) and even today I can see myself at my locker in C Square and her asking if I was staying out of trouble?….considering it was first period, she never knew. Mom made the difference for me at Dimond…to worker smarter, not harder. Good Luck in your next adventure Mom!

  15. LIz Turinsky Kell

    Such wonderful memories when I think of these two most wonderful and inspirational people!
    Some highlights: Myself and three girlfriends had ridden our respective busses to Dimond where we gathered and decided that we didn’t want to be at school that day so we headed off on foot to skip school.
    As we were walking away from the school, a car passed us, turned around and pulled up next too us. It was “Mom”. She opened up her car window, gently leaned forward and lovingly said, ” looks like you ladies are heading in the wrong direction. Would you like a ride to school this morning?” All four of us quietly piled into Mrs. McLaughlin’s car and not a word was spoken as we rode the block and a half back to school. Nothing more was ever said as we emptied out of her car and quickly got to first hour!
    And then my favorite memory with Mr. Tomco… I was 3 months from graduation and I had moved out of my moms home. I was not driving yet and now lived outside of bus range of school. I was doing what I could to catch a ride here and there and get to school and had finally given up and quit going to school. After about 3 days of not showing up, our phone rang one morning and it was Mike Tomco on the other end! His deep loving and sincere voice said, “If you don’t get your butt to school, I will physically come and bring you to school myself!” I promptly found a ride that very day. During class later that day, the door opened and in walked Tomco. He spoke to the teacher and pointed to me with that finger indicating, “come with me”. I got up and followed him out of class. He took me down the hall and he sternly spoke to me and said, “You are 3 months from graduating and you’re not going to blow this now!”
    I graduated 3 months later and have never forgotten the true love and support that these two offered me and so so so many other kids that were so blessed to grace the halls of Dimond High School during the wonder years of Tomco and McLaughlin!

  16. Dayna Lester Toohey

    Ms.McLaughlin and Mr. Tomco were an incredible influence on me in more ways than I could ever explain here. I just want them to hear that I have amazing memories of my years at Dimond and they are included in many. I can honestly say my life would different today were it not for their guidance, kindness and tough love.

  17. Katrina Boskofsky

    What a gracious lady who is an inspiration to us all. She always had the most joyous smile that could brighten my day. No matter how down, or even happy I was, she made it a better place. Mr. Tomco has done so much for me and has impacted my life in such a way that I could only say if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. He believed in me, and never left my side when I or my sisters needed him. I will be eternally grateful for what he has done for my life. Mr. Tomco, if you see this just know that my family thinks of you very often and we always wish you know the gratitude we will carry for the rest of our lives because of how much you loved us Boskofsky girls. We miss you and hope to see you again one day. Also, I did graduate with my high school diploma, I worked on the slope for a year, and I am a recent graduate of AVTEC and am a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant. I thought of you and your kind words along my journey. I never forgot how you believed in me.

  18. Elizabeth Smith

    Thank you both for all that you have done and given to us, kids. Not only helping me with support but also my little cousin in the later years. You both helped shape me into the teacher I am today and thank you for your patience and kindness. May you be blessed for all your hard work and generous giving.
    Beth Trudell

  19. Greg Ditty

    Mom was the nicest person that I have ever met. She treated me with respect as she did with all the students. I had the pleasure of dealing with her again eight years ago when my daughter attended Dimond. She not only remembered me, but also my brother and sister as well. You could see the kindness and compassion she had with all the kids. If I had only known about her retirement party I would not have missed that for anything. Here’s to Mom from another “81 Dimond High Grad”. Love you!

  20. Cheryl (Betts) Roland

    What can be said about those Mom? Too much!! One Classy lady :-). She and Mr. Tomco are some of the GREATS

  21. Joi Garrison Webber

    This is an amazing tribute to 2 of the most important people of my high school years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and care of mom and mr. Tomco. They got me through some rough times and guided me to be who I am now. All 5 of my sisters and I grew up with these 2 and even some of my nieces and nephews, that’s a long time to be around. Thank you for posting this tribute.

  22. Sheila Jensen

    Where do I begin? I am pretty sure I was Mrs. Mclaughlin’s pet project from 1979 – 1984. Thank God! Lol there is no doubt, without her I would not have graduated high school at all. She lovingly, sternly (I needed stern) kept me attending school when it would have been far easier to not. She didn’t let me manipulate and pull the wool over her eyes. She gave me lots of breaks for my stupid behavior, but also saw through all that to the real me under it all. She saw my potential and wouldn’t give up on me even though most others did. Senior year she created a plan called super triple secret probation for me. It involved a list in the office I had to sign in every morning before class, a map to my house, and the promise that if she didn’t see my name signed on that list by first bell, she would personally come drag me to school herself. Like it or not I was going to graduate high school and get on to better things in my life. Thank you Mrs.Mclaughfin, for all that you have done for me and for others. Because you believed in me I was able to also.

  23. Jessi Jacobson

    MOM, Thank you for always providing each of your “kids” with a safe place. Sometimes I needed that safe place from the stresses of school, friends, and even from myself. You always made me feel validated. The safety and validation your heart and soul created for my high school career has been carried with me through my professional career as well as motherhood. Thank you for giving us your time, your heart, and your patience. Good luck to you and your family as you enter the well-deserved chapter of retirement.
    Thank you.

  24. Rosa Conde-Carcache

    Class of ’96 – mom was real, gave it to you real and didn’t sugar coat it when you deserved it. That was the tough love she had for us. Haha And that look she had when she knew you were up to something. Thank God I didn’t get in trouble that much, but there were a few times I had to sit in the office with them. I don’t remember much of Mr. Tomco, but I remember he would make jokes to lighten the situation. All good though, high school wouldn’t have been the same without their support.

  25. s.w.

    “Mom” has always been a woman I remember with great appreciation and awe. She knew. She just KNEW. She knew just what to say. Always. She knew how to say that thing to make you very aware of the impact of your choices, good and bad. She taught me that it was never acceptable for a man to mistreat you. Not ok to be his “doormat” How she knew I was in abusive relationship was always a mystery to me. She just KNEW. Mom encouraged me and scolded me and consoled me and like for SO many of us is the very reason we managed to come away from high school with any self respect and faith in ourselves and our goals. I have always hoped she knew what a positive impact she had on my life. Thank you Mom. Thank you for you.

  26. Tamara Castillo

    Love this woman to the moon and back. She did so much for so many. I don’t consider myself a problem child but even “good” girls needed a woman like Mom in their corner to help them see the choices they need to make. Conversations with my own mother never went as well and were as productive and problem solving like with Mom McGlaughlin. She was easy to talk to, cry to or laugh with. You always walked away from her feeling like the world was back on track again. Tomco too knew just how to handle situations and made a huge impact in so many students lives. I am a very thankful DHS88 Graduate because of these two.

  27. Garry Hormann

    Mom, you were always there. As everyone has said we were all your kids. I remember once, I was going home cause I had (one of my) killer headaches. I lives straight across the sreet, and you walked me to the corner, and told me to call Ms. TOMCO when I made it home. And then when I first got my car, I did the common, leave my keys in the car. And I had to park all the way to the back of the parking lot. The both you and TOMCO were the best at your jobs.
    Class of ’91

  28. Leslie(Dee)Turner

    I went to Dimond in the mid-late 70’s then all 3 of my sons were at Dinond (Steven,Sean and Simon Antonucci)
    I have very fond memories of all of my teachers, counselor(Mrs.Dawson) Mr. Kelley our principal and the place itself. I have many great memories of my children’s teachers, many who stood out as super special in my book.
    Mr.Ball, Mr.Schmidt, very special thank you to the Mr.Kelley who was there when my kids went too! You, Mom, Mrs.Heart and several others were SO amazing to me. A big thank you to all of you. I’m sorry for those not mentioned but I have never ever forgotten. Leslie Turner.

  29. Brian Hoff

    Miss them both and the role they played in my life.

  30. Billy Yelvington

    I went to Bartlett in the early 80’s, while I can’t speak about ” Mom” , I did have friends that went to Dimond that talked about how amazing she was. Many of you might not know that Tomco worked as a security guard and football coach @ Bartlett as well, b4 going to Dimond. As a 14-15 kid whose Dad wasn’t around @ the time, Tomco was a rough n tumble, hilarious, father figure a young man could use. I never wanted to let that guy down or disappoint him. He’s one of the reasons I stayed on the straight and narrow during my time there. Funny how you don’t truly appreciate or understand what people like Mom and Tomco have done for you until you get all growed up. They really are life changers. This is my salute to both of them.

  31. Mike Gainer

    Mom always new what was happening in a very large school. Both her and Tomco both went out of their way to make things right and make things run smoothly. I think the priniclples thought they ran the school, but it was really Mom and Tomco! My brother, Chris, class of 81 and myself 90 they did an amazing job keeping us engaged in the school. We were just talking about you both the other day. We hope you both are in great health. Take care.

  32. Michael sparks

    I miss u guys, definitely a huge impact on my life, u two Mr. Jones, rip, too early, miss barbie, love u guys, will never forget!!! The world is a better place because of the impact u had on so many people, can’t say it enough.. thank you

  33. Dana (McLaughlin) Heyward

    Wow. All I can say right now is that all of these notes really touch my heart! “Mom” is actually my real Mother aka Nana! My brother Kenny and I shared her with Dimond High. LOL. The love you guys got from her, is just a fraction of what she has shown the both of us…her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren! She is an amazing, caring, and giving person and we thank God every day for her. Thank you all for validating that all the time and love she gave Dimond High made a difference in your lives! She is doing well and enjoying her retirement. And Mr. Tomco is never that far away from her. I will share this article with her and I know the will enjoy reading all your notes

  34. Sharon Jeffers

    Aunty you are a GEM…. You have touched and impacted so many lives. I am truly blessed to have you as an Aunt. CONGRATULATIONS

  35. John Trueblood

    My mom when mine was at work. She helped me through so much. She helped my brother, my sister, my son. My kids mom. And everyone she came in contact with. So much love for this woman!

  36. Jacquelyn Kelly

    Mom and Tomco made my everyday better. Walking through C Square wasn’t complete without running into one or both of them. Thank you for all the love and encouragement you gave me over my 4 years of high school! I couldn’t have done it without you! Jacquie Kelly -Class of 99

  37. Joshua Moore

    Mom used to walk my older brother home from Dimond because he would get into so many fights. She never dismissed a problem or, for lack of a better term, “problem child”. He was smart and she could see that in him. He had potential and she did her part to cultivate that within him. Today he is happy, successful, and has a family. She payed special attention to my brother and, in my humble opinion, saved his life… She is a true educator and my family has been blessed because of that, thanks Mom!


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