School Food Service stars honored in Parkrose

Discover who has been honored with the Parkrose School District ‘Nutrition Spirit Award’ for stupendous service to outer East Portland students …

Why are these people gathered in the Parkrose High School Cafeteria? Read on, and learn why they’re considered “shining stars” of their profession.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

With the all the activity of the Holiday Season, and the start of the new year, a new award program started by the Parkrose School District (PSD) escaped our notice – until now.

On February 8, the first three winners of the PSD Nutrition Spirit Award program gathered in the kitchen at Parkrose High School for recognition.

PSD Food Service Director Debra Garza says she’s happy to see these food service employees beeing honored.
“We decided to start the Parkrose Nutrition Spirit Award program back last December,” explained PSD Food Service Director Debra Garza to East Portland News.

“It’s a simple yet important idea: wanting to celebrate our food service staff for all they are, and all they do,” Garza continued. “The Parkrose School District sees these staff members as partners to our overall educational program.”

The criterion for the award, Garza remarked, is outstanding and extraordinary work.

After a challenging year starting at Prescott Elementary, Joshua Danielson is honored as the first PSD Nutrition Spirit Award winner.

“To start off, in December, I nominated the first recipient of our Nutrition Spirit Award program, Joshua Danielson,” Garza said. “Josh faced challenges – including being a first-year leader in the kitchen, working with a new Principal, and the logistics at Prescott Elementary School. He was not only to do his job, but to do it in a positive and energetic way that encompassed all of the students at that school!”

Shaver Elementary School’s Rikki Beltran is their second award winner.

After that first nomination, peers nominated others to receive the Nutrition Spirit Award. January’s recipient was Rikki Beltran, of Shaver Elementary School.

“I nominated Rikki because she’s done so much to help me at our schools food service program; she helped us create good a good program at Prescott,” said Joshua Danielson.

Meet Kim Barron, Parkrose High’s food service superstar, and February’s honoree.

In turn, Beltran selected Kim Barron at Parkrose High School. “Kim is always there for anybody who needs help, or who needs a product that she may have,” Beltron said about her selection. “She’s helped me out on numerous occasions; and will ‘ talk it out’ with me, if I am having a challenging situation.”

Barron, who came to Parkrose High after working five years at Benson High School, said she was happy to become part of their staff after her family moved into the area.

“Our food service program is not just about feeding the students in our individual schools, it’s also about community building,” Barron remarked. During the height of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, we went out on buses and fed kids in the outlying areas of our district; added food distribution sites through all kinds of weather; and provided food for families – whether or not they had any students in our schools.”

So, congratulations to these three PSD food service leaders, who not only provide nutrition, but also support, for their community.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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