April 3, 2020

Five employees of the Picayune School District food service department won first place at the Mississippi School Nutrition Association conference in the Lip Sync contest. From left are Dawn Smith, Sonia Knieper, Malinda Jarrell, Angel Trenchard and Marie Watkins. Submitted photo

Lunch lady lyricists: Mississippi cafeteria staffs haul home awards

Two local school districts brought home awards from the Mississippi School Nutrition Association conference held last week.

Pearl River County School District brought home first place in the Cupcake Wars category and third place in the Story Board category, while Picayune School District brought home first place in the Lip Sync Battle.

PRC School District Food Service Administrator Sheila Amaker said her staff worked very hard on their entries.

In the Story Board category, Elementary School Cafeteria Manager Myra Smith won for her story board about team collaboration.

Smith said her goal was to show how all employees in the District’s food service department work as one team. She did that by gathering images of cafeteria staff from the present going back to the 1970s.

She asked members of her staff to help compile those images, which included some photos of the students helping in the cafeteria during Farmer’s Week.

Then, she put the images together in a presentation that resembled a window, to portray the viewer looking through the window of time, Smith said.

Tina Farrell, the manager of the cafeteria at the Carriere campus, won first place for her cupcakes. Farrell said this year she entered triple chocolate cupcakes filled with Chantilly champagne flavored filling and butter cream icing with a champagne extract.

All of that was topped with an image of the skeleton key logo from MSNA created with gold edible paint.

As an extra layer of creativity, she served the cupcakes in champagne glasses. Farrell said she chose that recipe because this year’s conference was a celebration of 50 years of the organization.

Picayune School District Food Service Director Debbie Byrd said her team won first place in the lip sync battle by performing Adam Sandler’s song, Lunchlady Land.

Byrd said five of her staff across the District performed the rendition, including Melinda Jarrell, Marie Watkins, Sonya Knieper, Dawn Smith and Angel Trenchard.

The conference is a chance for food service personnel in Mississippi school districts to hear from key speakers, learn about updated regulations and hear from other food service professionals, Amaker said.

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