Rivercrest High School, Wilson, AR
In the fall of 2021, the staff at Rivercrest would have said they felt like beginners, novices, confused, and simply put, not sure what they were doing! New leadership in the district and a new Child Nutrition Director led to a rocky start for Rivercrest School District. Their district is nestled in the Arkansas Delta right at the edge of the Mighty Mississippi, with a rich heritage of hospitality and, of course, good home style meals. But the new Child Nutrition Director, Rhonda Green, knows how important those meals are to their children, especially with the large number of Free and Reduced Lunch students in their rural area.
Rhonda was new and there was little help they could provide her from the central office. But that didn’t stop her for pushing forward and learning the ins and outs of cafeteria business. Once she conquered the technology challenges, and then the massive paperwork, it was time to get students and teachers excited about their meal choices. During the very first meeting to look at food choices, we asked if our students could have bottled water, less than 12 hours later water was on the line. It was amazing how happy a simple thing like bottled water could make a teenager excited. Now it was time for choices and the cafeteria line begin to get a makeover. The staff took classes on baking homemade pizza and began trying the new recipes provided by our food service, School Eats. They knew this was a big step in the middle of the school year, but Mrs. Green led those ladies with clear expectations and a heart for the children’s needs. As new ideas were suggested, the students got better access to their breakfast line, Mrs. Green was right there at the front of the line giving the suggestions a chance to work.
We were impressed with Mrs. Green when she got called late one Friday afternoon and she quickly suggested she would drive back to work and help. The very next morning she was just outside of the cafeteria at the break of dawn unloading a truck by herself. These are the little things that go unnoticed with so many people in food service. We rarely get a chance to simply say, thank you. So, thank you, Mrs. Green. It has only been a few months since you started this journey as director, but your dedication and willingness to support child nutrition has made a difference. Students eating breakfast has tripled and the cafeteria lines are growing and glowing with happy faces. Mrs. Rhonda Green is a Tyson K-12 Hunger Hero, and her staff is excited to continue to grow with her by their side.