The School Nutrition Association has announced its 2019 national award winners just ahead of School Lunch Hero Day, taking place on May 3. Here’s a look at how these three school nutrition heroes are making their foodservice programs shine.
Mary LaMarche (Employee of the year)
Satellite Kitchen Assistant
Bel Air Elementary School
Harford County Public Schools
Bel Air, Md.
To help showcase the meals served at Bel Air, LaMarche started an Instagram account that highlights promotional events as well as fresh produce and entrees served during the school day. She also helped organize a free food show during a back-to-school night, which allowed students, parents and siblings to sample menu items. LaMarche also dedicates her time to the district’s Future Links program, through which she helps teach career skills to special needs adults.
Robin Dake (Manager of the year)
McMinn County High School
McMinn County School System
St. Athens, Tenn.
Dake has helped introduce popular menu items such as a Philly cheesesteak sandwich, healthy a la carte drinks, and macaroni and cheese. This fall, she implemented an after-school snack program, which now serves over 1,000 snacks to students each month in after-school activities. Drake also worked with students and a consultant to renovate the cafeteria into a modern space with a college cafe atmosphere.
Becky Domokos-Bays (Director of the year)
School Nutrition Services Director
Loudoun County Public Schools
In her five years as director at Loudoun County, Domokos-Bays has helped begin a number of nutrition initiatives, including a summer-feeding program that served over 49,000 students in 2018. Under her leadership, she eliminated the reduced-price meal fee and improved nutrition program participation from 65% to 85%. She also has helped grow the district’s farm-to-school program, which now includes 52 active school gardens.