According to Watts the award is meant to bring recognition to some of the most “unsung heroes” in our Massachusetts schools. The stereotypical image of a lunch lady is negative, she said.
“They are often depicted as mean, nasty women serving mystery meat,” Watts said.
Worcester-born author Jarrett J. Krosoczka always remembered his school’s lunch lady fondly and has now devoted a graphic novel series to her iconic memory. He has also proclaimed her birthday, May 3, to be Super Lunch Lady Hero Day. In his novels, the mild-mannered lunch lady protagonist is a secret super hero crime-solver.
“Jarrett Krosoczka’s books are a refreshing change to this [negative] stereotype, and Linda Vienneau’s attitude, effort and passion certainly dispels the myth very well, as you could see from the love spilling over in the Sweetsir School. She is an inspiration to all,” Watts added.
Like any curriculum, the school lunch program is about choices and reinforcement and, after 15 years in food service, Vienneau is happy to dish out ideas for encouraging healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.
“When students choose a second vegetable they receive a sticker,” she said. “If I catch them in a kind act I give them a sticker. They get more hugs on Lucky Lunch day. I love the students and I love to cook.”