From the Cafeteria of Justice! : School Lunch Hero Day Stories
Art © 2013 Jarrett J. Krosoczka 

From the Cafeteria of Justice!

by School Lunch Hero Day on 02/20/13

Sandra Hearn 
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! 


Samantha Ingram 
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.


Suellen Smith 
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.


Ann Roberson

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.


Lizabeth Randall

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.


Nancy Younglove
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. 



Comments (8)

1. Lea Klein said on 4/24/13 - 09:27AM
Cathy Clerico and the school cafeteria staff at Francis A. Desmares Elementary School work tirelessly to promote good nutrition. They developed a school breakfast program that includes almost 100 students each day. They use fresh produce grown in the school garden, incorporating it into healthy and delicious meals for the children. The children really enjoy all of the extra time and effort they put in every day.
2. Karen Johnson said on 5/2/13 - 08:26AM
I am so proud and honored to work alongside so many super hero's that feed children everyday in Yuma School District One Yuma, Arizona. Come rain, come shine - these hero's serve our students and have embraced our awareness of fruits and vegetables for healthy lifestyles. These heroes have participated in a pilot program this year focusing on student's learning about the health benefits of adding more fruits and vegetables - the students focus on one a fruit/vegetable each week with staff dressing up and student's wearing the color of most of the fruits/vegetables - you should have seen one school yesterday all wearing RED in honor of celebrating the health benefits of strawberries - it was amazing - people from the community stopped by - classrooms made signage for the campus and the cafeteria was decorated throughout with pictures and stories of strawberries - these are certainly super heroes that go above and beyond for their students!
3. Angela Lambert Gobble said on 5/2/13 - 04:01PM
I would love to celebrate the Child Nutrition Staff at North Rowan Middle School in Spencer North Carolina. They are truly such hard workers that feed more than breakfast and lunch to a great group of students. They also dish up smiles and hugs and such heart for this school. There are not sufficient words to thank them for their dedication. And how blessed I am to work with a group that has such heart and caring spirits and they always go far beyond their jobs to do what is best for our precious customers. So a shout out of thanks to Lori, Audrey, Sylvia, Frances, Dee, and Holly!!!!! And another shout out of thanks to our central office staff....without your support we could not do what we do without you!!! And a thanks to everyone at the school, as we are proud to be "Partners In Education" with you!
4. Jenilee McComb said on 5/3/13 - 11:18AM
Colleen Dietz is our amazing Social Media wizard for our Child Nutrition Program in Provo School District(Utah). She works incredible magic as she brings our Child Nutrition Program to life on our facebook page (ITSMeals at Provo School District). She showcases our fabulous meals with infinite care and recognizes our amazing Child Nutrition Professionals. This is a perfect day to recognize Colleen, her beautiful spirit, her love of our program, her excellence, and her innovative vision! She is definitely a 'Lunch Lady Superhero!'
5. Eloise VanCamp said on 5/3/13 - 03:47PM
I would like to celebrate my dear mother that was chief cook with only one lady helping her to feed grades 1-8 in a two story red brick building in the 50-60's to all us baby boomers. Everything was made from scratch as we say in the south. To this day people still talk about her cooking, saying she was the best ever. The milkman told me he use to make sure his route took him by there for lunch every day. They worked so hard. Can you imagine just 2 women doing all the cooking, cleaning, planning, etc. for all those kids. Then she would gather her stuff up and walk home at the end of the day. She was truly one of a kind. Best cook ever and she loved all her kiddos and watched over them all as if they were hers.
6. Vicky Gasparini said on 5/3/13 - 04:58PM
Our day at Armstrong High School in Robbinsdale District #281 in Minnesota started out with an e-mail to celebrate School Lunch Super Hero day with fun fruit and vegetable jokes. We all got a kick out of them. Then we had to kick into Superhero mode, about 20 minutes before we were to start serving our 1083 lunches we lost power to the entire school. All the super hero's in my kitchen started the thinking process of what we were going to do to feed the students. As it turned out after about a 45 minute outage we had power restored and were able to in less than a half hour be ready to serve everyone as usual. Though lunch was a little late we did get many thanks from staff and students for making lunch happen. That is our Super Hero story.
7. Ms. Greenleaf said on 3/31/14 - 09:36AM
Several years ago, while eating in our school lunchroom, I choked on a meatball. I panicked, but one of our school lunch ladies jumped right into action. Without a second of hesitation, she performed the Heimlich maneuver and saved my life. Ms. Velasquez, you will always be my hero!
8. Teresa Stevenson said on 4/3/17 - 08:20AM
I am so very honored to have worked in school nutrition for over 20 years. Being on the front line to now being at the State Department we see that part of our local chapter's annual activity is to go into the schools and serve lunch or breakfast right along with our school nutrition professional heroes. We dress in our super hero attire and interact with the students and staff to showcase our motivation, dedication and inspiration to them for all they do everyday to feed our children of Georgia. They are definitely our super heroes and we showcase them whenever we can because they are without a doubt building healthy children ready to learn!

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