The greatest single force in quality childhood nutrition in America is the nation’s public schools. And Warren County has created a special occasion to honor those who work every school day to nourish and nurture our students.
The Warren County Chapter of the Tennessee School Nutrition Association hosted scores of its personnel last Thursday evening at its annual recognition banquet at Morrison Elementary School’s sparkling new cafeteria. Cindy Cooper was the featured speaker, and director of schools Bobby Cox offered welcoming remarks and voiced the invocation.
Among the honored retirees was the dean of student nutrition employees, Dibrell Elementary cafeteria manager Ramona Cooper, who served 27 years in the system.
Others entering honorable retirement at the end of this school year are: Linda Bell (WCHS, 15 years), Tina Coldwell (Dibrell, 17 years), Betty DeArmond (Dibrell, 12 years), Linda Hickey (West Elementary, 6 years), Treva Horton (WCHS, 23 years) and Brenda West (Eastside ES, 15 years).
Also recognized were Culinary Academy graduates Debra Jo Shinaberry (2015) and Michelle Rackley (2014), as well as Leadership Academy graduates Renee Griffith, Sherry Morris (forthcoming), Rackley and Shinaberry.
Food service staffs achieving 100 percent membership in the Tennessee School Nutrition Association were Bobby Ray Memorial, Dibrell, Eastside, Hickory Creek and Irving College Elementary. Earning perfect attendance awards for 2015-16 were: Jane Burchfield, Betty DeArmond, Sylvia Gunn, Judy McGuire, Russell Pedigo, Melissa Hillis, Kathleen Siebers, Mary Jo Warner and Lisa Wells.
Warren County student nutrition director Dr Sandy Dawes joined other banquet speakers in lauding those school food service staffs qualifying for the personnel safety award, an especially notable achievement in a busy workplace that includes power machinery, hot surfaces and sharp knives. Those schools are: Bobby Ray Memorial, Centertown, Dibrell, Irving College, Morrison, Hickory Creek, WCMS and West Elementary.
Recognized for their professional certification in school nutrition were: Level One—Beverly Roberts, Donhua Cantrell, Vickie Grieves, Debra Jo Shinaberry, Diane Goad, Sherry Morris, Ramona Cooper, Terri Mullican, Jane Burchfield, Stormi Cowan and Krista Creasy; Level Two—Michelle Rackley and Beth Elkins; and Level Three—Sandy Dawes, Renee Griffith and Ann Frye.
Significantly for student wellbeing and public health, all of Warren County’s public schools scored an average of 95 percent or higher in the semi-annual inspections by the State of Tennessee. Last week’s banquet audience also applauded high school senior Kristen Rowland as winner of the local TSNA chapter’s annual scholarship.
“Every position in the Warren County school system is essential to the work of the entire organization, and all these jobs are focused on one goal: the success and wellbeing of our students,” Cox stated.
“We sincerely and profoundly appreciate the dedication and hard work of all of our employees, but the student nutrition banquet brings us a special occasion at the end of the school year to emphasize our ‘thank you’ to the people who feed and nurture our students.
“And it’s not just the dependable, nutritious breakfast and lunch food,” Cox continued, “but also the kind words and smiles that remind the children they are loved and welcomed in our schools.”
Thanks to a US Department of Agriculture program and the high number of children who would qualify for free and reduced-priced cafeteria meals—an indicator of local poverty—all students in the Warren County system are invited to enjoy breakfast and lunch at no charge. The county first qualified for the Community Eligibility Provision under recently retired student nutrition director Jean Wix and continues under current director Dr Sandy Dawes.
From the start of classes last August until the end of April, the Warren County school system served 759,873 lunches and 529,216 breakfasts, as well as 53,559 after-school snacks.
Fifty-five school cafeteria personnel are members of the Warren County Chapter of the Tennessee School Nutrition Association. Renee Griffith heads the chapter as president; other officers are Beth Elkins, vice president; Diane Goad, treasurer; and Beverly Roberts, secretary.