Animated image of Sherry Bryant

Sherry Bryant

Carney Public School (OK)

Submitted by JaNetta Barr

More than just serving up meals, cafeterias play a crucial role in shaping student well-being & learning and the wider school community. In our case, it's a community fostered by devoted staff like Sherry Bryant, who goes the extra mile to nourish not just bodies, but also spirits. Over the last 9 years, she has worked tirelessly to ensure the smooth operation of our cafeteria. On average our cafeteria serves 212 meals providing the essential nutrition for a significant portion of the student body. This is especially true for the 151 students who rely on the free & reduced lunch program, demonstrating the cafeteria's vital role in combating food insecurity.

Sherry’s impact goes beyond numbers. Sherry recognizes the importance of a nurturing environment which is demonstrated in her willingness to spend personal funds to enhance the student experience. This dedication creates a welcoming space where every child feels valued and promotes a sense of community & belonging within the cafeteria space whether through decorations or special events.

Sherry's commitment extends far beyond simply preparing meals. Her dedication to individual needs shines through her in her attentiveness & efforts to accommodate food allergies. Often spending hours researching alternative food options to offer like meals without multiple of the top 9 allergies, which is no easy feat. At the school’s Thanksgiving meal, she accommodated the children with food allergies by making them a safe traditional Thanksgiving meal including pumpkin pie to enjoy alongside the rest of the school & community.

Sherry's dedication doesn't stop at personalization. She actively seeks to improve the cafeteria experience, researching ways to streamline operations & enhance the menu. This proactive approach ensures the cafeteria remains efficient & caters to evolving student preferences. Such as, the option for pre-ordering lunches for older students. This provides students with an opportunity to build their decision-making skills, increases participation in school lunches, & helps build the student’s autonomy, by allowing students to feel in control of their choices when they personalize their meal experience. Sherry's willingness to accommodate late orders additionally demonstrates her commitment to students & creates a positive relationship between the cafeteria staff & the student body.

In conclusion, Sherry is much more than just a lunch lady serving meals. She is all about nurturing young minds & bodies, fostering a sense of community, & building positive relationships, making the cafeteria more than just a place to get food. It's a hub of nutrition, community, & personalized care. With dedicated staff like Sherry, our school's cafeteria is truly a force for good, shaping the future one delicious bite at a time.

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