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School cafeteria worker in P.E.I. receives award for going the extra mile

Hernewood Intermediate school students congratulate Lorna "the Lunch Lady" MacIsaac on receiving the P.E.I. Home and School Federation’s 2020 Extra Mile Award. MacIsaac has been preparing meals, handling cash and doing cleanup in the Hernewood cafeteria for 26 years. From left Maggie Stewart, Kalyn MacWilliams, MacIsaac and Kira Costain - Eric McCarthy
Hernewood Intermediate school students congratulate Lorna
WOODSTOCK, P.E.I. —

Lorna MacIsaac’s morning routine of getting ready for Hernewood Intermediate School’s lunchtime crowd was temporarily interrupted by a school assembly on Friday.

What MacIsaac didn’t know, though, was the assembly was being held in her honour. 

Members of the P.E.I. Home and School Federation were in attendance to present Hernewood’s "Lunch Lady" with the western P.E.I. schools’ 2020 Extra Mile Award.   

“She’s a great cook, especially her lasagna,” one student wrote in support of MacIsaac’s nomination for the award.

A parent described MacIsaac as “an amazing person who goes out of their way to help accommodate volunteers who assist with the needs of students and staff so that everyone feels included”.

It was also noted that students intentionally go and greet MacIsaac to start their days.

“She knows who I am and what I like. She’s really nice,” said a student.

Home and School Federation executive director Shirley Jay said this was the first year a school cafeteria staff member has received the award. 

“This year, it just seemed to be a theme that hopped up with all of the (Extra Mile Award) nominations that there was a bit of a focus on healthy school food,” said Jay.

“I do enjoy working alongside of these kids,” said MacIsaac, who has been doing the job for 26 school years.

“We always get a fresh start on Grade 7s and, by Grade 9, they feel like your own.”

Her children also attended school there.

She admits she’s sometimes referred to as the "Lunch Lady" but she finds most students acknowledge her by her first name. And she tries to get to know the students by their name and by what they like.

“I just like being around the kids,” she said. 

“You hear about everything; I think they tell us everything down here.”

Her day runs from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. preparing for morning snacks and noon lunch, handling cash and the clean-up afterwards.

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