NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 13, 2014

'She makes the kids feel valued'

AHS cafeteria manager wins 'Excellence in Education' award

AMESBURY — They tell her she is their favorite and they mean it.

“She is definitely an educator because we are talking about the whole child,” Amesbury High School assistant principal Elizabeth McAndrews said of cafeteria manager Jeanne Sheehan. “Lunch is a big time for kids and she makes the kids feel valued.”

A server at the high school cafeteria for 18 years and manager for the past five, Sheehan was preparing lunch a couple of weeks ago when she was approached by McAndrews who was carrying an envelope. Sheehan wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

“I asked her if I was getting fired,” Sheehan said. “You never know.”

Nevertheless, Sheehan opened the envelope to discover that she had been awarded one of this year’s Excellence in Education Awards.

“I opened it and I read it and was like, ‘Are you serious?’’ Sheehan said. “That’s when (McAndrews) told me, ‘You are an educator no matter how you help our children.’”

Normally handed out to teachers, the Excellence in Education Awards are the Amesbury Schools’ way to honor those who make a difference in their students’ lives, and according to McAndrews, Sheehan fits that bill perfectly.

“She works her butt off each and every day, gives the kids a smile,” McAndrews said. “She always puts the kids’ interest first.”

An Amesbury native and AHS alumnae, Sheehan was the captain of the cheerleading team before graduating with the Class of 1980.

“We are in that position where the kids come in and want to see somebody with a smile on their face,” Sheehan said. “I’m the last person the kids see before they go somewhere else. They may not have such a good day, but who knows? Their day may not go that well after. I want to make sure their experience here is a pleasant one.”

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