Thursday, October 8, 2020

Canton educator is honored by state lottery

Canton High School Nutrition Services Supervisor 
Colleen Berry recently accepted an Excellence in Education 
award from the Michigan Lottery and was featured on 
WXYZ TV in an interview. 
A Plymouth-Canton Community School District educator known for bringing hot healthy meals to students every day has been honored with an Excellence in Education award from the Michigan Lottery. 

Award winner Colleen Berry is the nutrition services supervisor for Canton High School.  She received a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and a $500 grant for her school. One of the weekly winners will be selected as the Educator of the Year and will receive a $10,000 cash prize. 

The Michigan Lottery established the Excellence in Education awards in 2014 to recognize outstanding public-school educators across the state during the school year. 

Each winner also is featured in a news segment on the Lottery media partner stations. Berry was featured on  WXYZ-TV in Detroit. During her interview, Berry said that helping children prepare to learn by filing their bellies led her to a career as in food service for the school district. 

“Some of these children only eat at school, so making sure they have nutritious meals to help prepare them for learning is important. A well-fed student is ready to learn.” 

She said her favorite part of being an educator is “feeding hungry children and seeing the smiles on the students faces when they come to get their breakfast and lunch.” 

Berry said building relationships with the students and making an impact on their lives in the brief time she has with them each day motivates her to do her best each day. 

“Students can't learn if they are hungry, so each day our staff does our best to prepare nutritious meals for each student and to serve each meal with a smile.” 

A colleague nominated her for the Excellence in Education award. The nomination cited her leadership and dedication to feeding students, and her ability to adapt to the challenges the school faced at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Colleen had to change gears and turn into a new community service to provide food to these families difficult times,” the nomination said. “Having meals with fruit, vegetables, and milk available helped countless families during the school weeks while children had no school. 

“Colleen had a lot of help from the administration and cafeteria staff to pitch in and assist her efforts, but her service over the years is an inspiration to me and she always does it with a smile.”  

Berry attended Canton High School and has worked in the district food service department for 13 years, including three years as the cafeteria manager at Canton High School. 

Outstanding public-school educators may be nominated for an Excellence in Education award at ExcellenceInEducation or through the websites of the Lottery media partner station.