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Cafeteria staff wins national recognition

Jemison Elementary cafeteria staff holds their Gold School banner along with school officials, USDA representative, ALSDE representatives and county representatives. L-R: Top: Bobby Martin, probate judge; George Brasher, Jemison councilman; Keith Moore, superintendent; Eddie Reed, mayor of Jemison; Kurt Wallace, state representative; Ann Thomas, Board of Education member; Tim Mote, Atlanta Officer of the USDA; Pat Clement, Child Nutrition; Dianne Wilkins, management; Jimmy Martin, former state representative; Heather McDermott, ALSDE representative; Louise Pitts, principal; and Perry Fulton, director of the ALSDE. Bottom: Wanda Scott, assistant manager; Jeannie McGee; Patti Littletop; Angela Caputo; Brenda Jones; Linda Blankenship; Heather Hall; and Pam Porter.

An assembly was held Thursday at Jemison Elementary to honor the school’s cafeteria staff for their hard work and dedication.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Alabama State Department of Education Child Nutrition presented the staff with the Gold Award of Distinction.

The award was established through the Healthier US School Challenge (HUSSC), a program that recognizes schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.

“The school winning this award is an example of everybody working together — the cafeteria staff working with the teachers, coaches, principal and parents,” said Perry Fulton, director of Child Nutrition with the Alabama State Department of Education. “There are only 72 out of 100,000 schools that have achieved this Gold Award of Distinction.”

The morning program included songs from all grade levels and at the end the cafeteria staff sung, “I’ve Been Working on the Lunchroom” their rendition of the song “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

“I feel wonderful; it’s a feeling that is hard to express,” said Brenda Jones, who’s been a cafeteria employee at Jemison for 12 years. “It’s a great bunch of co-workers to work with and today has been a wonderful experience.”

The employees don’t look at it as a job; they look at it as taking care of a family, said Louise Pitts, school principal.

“The ladies come up to the school even when they are not being paid, that’s how dedicated they are,” said Pitts. “They come up and decorate the lunchroom for the holidays to make it homey for the children. They are so kind and kind to the students.”