Kindness, care, pride are hallmarks of Heart of Child Nutrition award winners


There are probably many reasons cafeteria workers are highly thought of by the students they serve. They don’t assign homework, require students to stay after school for tutoring, and probably never have occasion to send a student to the principal’s office for misbehavior.

The sentiments students expressed in nominating their school cafeteria employees for the Heart of Child Nutrition Award reflect lots of positive qualities, such as the ability to nurture, encourage, and show love and patience.

The award, sponsored by the Food and Child Nutrition Services Department, is one way for students and staff to say thank you to those who put their hearts into the hundreds of meals they prepare and serve daily.

The final three schools whose cafeteria staffs were recently honored with the award are Thomas J. Rusk Middle School, Charles Rice Learning Center and Hillcrest High School.

At Rusk, students and faculty alike describe the cafeteria staff as awesome, kind, amazing and nurturing.

“Our cafeteria ladies go over and above each day to take special care of our kids,” said one staff member. “They laugh with them, teach them about good choices, and keep a watch out for them.”

“All the students know and love them,” said another. “They treat the students as if they were their own children.”

Pride in presentation, service, and a staff with a combined 100 years of district food service experience helped the Charles Rice Learning Center cafeteria staff earn their award. FCNS specialist Joyce Terry-Wilson said the Rice staff wins regular compliments and applause from parents and students for their excellent customer service and positive interactions with everyone they serve.

The Hillcrest High School cafeteria staff includes 25-year food service veteran Frances Elaine Sims, who has served at Hillcrest long enough to remember when alum and current principal Ronald Jones was young enough to pass through her cafeteria line. Sims was recently honored for her years of leadership and service to two generations of Panthers and as an example of the excellence exemplified by the entire Hillcrest cafeteria staff.

Rounding out the six school staffs honored with the award are Arcadia Park and Louise Wolff Kahn elementary schools and Dallas Environmental Science Academy.

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