This week’s unsung hero is South Side’s own Mrs. Janine Lawrence. Janine is our Cafeteria Manager, but the title does not come close to defining all that she is to our staff, our students, or our families. Mrs. Lawrence runs a kitchen that flows smoothly every day regardless of the challenges of feeding a building of 450 elementary students. She leads her staff in a culture that recognizes the importance of what they do each day, and it shows in their approach to our children as they gently encourage them through the line and ensure that every child receives a balanced meal every day regardless of their ability to pay. Mrs. Lawrence keeps meticulous records, and thinks outside of apparent limitations to find help and support for our students who need extra assistance. She collaborates daily with our office staff and classroom teachers to communicate about students who may need an adult to advocate for their well-being and nutrition. Janine works closely with our school nurse to ensure appropriate diet for students with special dietary considerations and puts systems in place to see to it that those needs are met. Whether students are here at school, or off campus on a field trip, or involved with a special program; she is eager to provide meals and service. Mrs. Lawrence has often attended registration nights to help families register for assistance, and her help is met with gratitude. Anyone who has ever worked in food service remembers the analogy of a duck in water: while the duck floats smoothly and in apparent ease across the surface, those feet are paddling to exhaustion underneath. While it may seem that the South Side’s Kitchen runs effortlessly and without incident each day, that dining experience is only possible because of the hard work that Mrs. Lawrence and her staff put in well before and after their meal service hours. That is why Mrs. Janine Lawrence is this week’s unsung hero. Thank you, Janine, for all you do!