Cafeteria Manager, Vicksburg Warren School District, MS
Sandra “Sandy” Hearn has devoted countless hours to support special needs children in her district, where she has worked for 24 years. Among her many volunteer activities, Hearn started a nutritional feeding program for Camp Silver Cloud, a summer day camp for mentally and physically challenged children; volunteered as a coach and cheerleader for Special Olympics; and serves on the Board of Jacob’s Ladder, a private school that teaches life skills to special needs children. Hearn also works with her school’s Special Education Program, training students to work in food service to prepare them for jobs after graduation. One of the students she trained is now employed in her cafeteria!
Samson Elementary Child Nutrition Manager, Geneva County Schools, AL
Samantha “Mrs. Sam” Ingram knows all of her students’ names and makes sure each one has breakfast in the classroom daily. She coordinated the “Blessings in a Bag” program, providing students with healthy snacks for weekends; collects food for the Cornerstone Food Bank; and has volunteered her culinary skills for Vacation Bible School and the recreation department’s weekend concession stand. After her young son died from a brain tumor, Ingram began raising awareness and funds for childhood cancer, supporting Children’s Hospital of Alabama in Birmingham and the Ronald McDonald House. Ingram sponsors the John-Dylan Ingram Scholarship at the local high school and raises money to donate to Samson High athletic department in honor of her son.
Zephyrhills High School Cafeteria Manager, Pasco County, FL
Under Suellen Smith’s leadership, the cafeteria at Zephyrhills High School has evolved into a school-based community center for students in need. Smith provides more than healthy meals - she also helps students with school supplies and attire. Smith collects donations and maintains a clothes closet in the school kitchen where young women and men can be outfitted to go to prom, homecoming, graduation or special events. Students stop by during lunch and Smith and her staff help them choose a dream outfit that they could not afford, giving not only the gift of clothing, but also the gift of confidence and pride. Smith serves as a mentor to every young man or woman who walks through the door, helping each one put his or her best foot forward.
Pierce County High School Nutrition Employee, Blackshear, GA
Ann Roberson’s upbeat attitude and inspiring work ethic has earned her a place in the hearts of students and staff at Pierce County High School. Roberson has an excellent rapport with students, connecting with each of them as they come through the cafeteria and making an extra effort to engage any students sitting alone. She’s a team player, quick to take on new responsibilities, support her coworkers and promote a positive environment in the kitchen and cafeteria. Ann goes above and beyond, developing new, healthy recipes and volunteering to spearhead the expansion of the district’s summer meal program into local churches, successfully increasing the program’s reach by 7,000 children.
School Nutrition Specialist of Wayzata Public Schools, Plymouth, MN
Lizabeth Randall is constantly focused on improving the cafeteria experience for students and staff. With student wellness in mind, Lizabeth redesigned the serving lines and developed a visual labeling system to encourage students to select more fresh fruits and vegetables. To help young students navigate the cafeteria, she produced informative videos and hosts Parent Forums throughout the school year, showcasing serving lines and foodservice operations. Wayzata’s Culinary Express team also appreciates Lizbeth’s efforts to improve staff training and professional development.
Food Service Director, North Rose – Wolcott Central Schools, Wolcott, NY
In addition to managing her district’s school meal program, Nancy Younglove is founder and Executive Director of the Cougar Cupboard Inc., an emergency food pantry located on the school campus. As the number of students qualifying for free and reduced-price meals steadily increased, Younglove noticed that many students were going hungry. She started Cougar Cupboard in 2012 with the help of student volunteers, but today, the Cougar Cupboard Inc. is a model for in-school pantry programs across New York State. The not-for-profit has expanded its services by sponsoring Mobile Food Pantries for Foodlink of Rochester, distributing 4,000 pounds of food each month to feed more than 500 people.