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Perry High nutrition manager wins state award | News

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Perry High nutrition manager wins state award
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Teachers and coaches help students be successful all year, but so do the people that might not get as much attention-- those who work in the lunch room.

The Perry High School nutrition manager received state recognition for her meals that both taste good and are good for you.

You won't find any mystery meat on the plates of Perry High School students.

"It isn't like when I went to school!" laughs nutrition manager, Regina Williamson, who has worked there for six years. "A lot of thought goes into that product for them."

The Georgia School Nutrition Association awarded her with the Manager of the Year title.

The criteria is based on management, cafeteria environment, involvement, and community outreach.

She sticks to her motto of fresh, not frozen, going as far as slow roasting pulled pork every night,

Williamson has subtle swaps that make a big health impact.

"We put whole grain where we can get that in," she explains, "Like the pizza crust and the biscuits at breakfast."

Her team also uses olive oil for cooking and steers away from the deep-fryer.

Williamson says that to be healthy, students do not have to adopt an "all or nothing mentality."

French fries, for example, she says are a favorite.

"But we bake them instead of frying them." Now that it's almost the end of the school year, students have their sights set on summer.

Along with all she does in the kitchen, she does just as much outside of it. Williamson goes into the classrooms to teach students about how to shop for the right foods at the grocery store so they can take the lessons home with them.

"I want them to be educated so that their dreams are never lost due to a lack of nutrition."

She also works closely with athletes and the ROTC program to give them proper meal plans.

Last year, after six students were informed they needed to lose weight as part of a routine health assessment, Williamson monitored their progress and gave them guidelines. By the end of the year, they each reached their goal.

"I just really and truly think it comes down to our personal involvement with the students," she says. "We go to the basketball games. We go to their softball games."

On her nomination letter, it was noted that not many people know the people that work in the lunch room well enough to run up and give them a hug.

That's not the case with Williamson, who is regularly stopped and thanked by students and parents for what she does.

The little extra attention to the food and to the students that enjoy it made her stand apart.

"It's more than the food," concludes Williamson.

The second place winner was also from Houston County.

Westside Elementary took the title for another stand-out nutritionist.

Follow 13WMAZ's Karli Barnett on Twitter.


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