For more than 30 years, the School Nutrition Foundation has been raising funds to provide SNA members with the opportunity to achieve their higher education goals through a wide variety of scholarships. To date, SNF has awarded members over $2 million in scholarship funds. In our SNF Scholarship Series we will be aiming the spotlight at some of our scholarship winners and sharing their stories with you, including excerpts from their application essays and follow-up interviews.
Food Service Account Specialist Sherry Stratton has been with the Warren County School Food Service for thirteen years. She calls her work balancing the financials of the school nutrition program “a passion,” and often finds herself lost in the work that inspires her. “Hours fly by before I know it’s time to go [home],” Stratton wrote in her scholarship application essay. “I cannot express to you the satisfaction I gain by balancing our fund, or correcting a mistake … it is satisfying to know that everything is in order and balanced.”
Sherry found out about SNA and SNF scholarships through a co-worker, who would apply every year for an SNF scholarship. “She would joke that she was on the ’20-year-plan’ because it was taking her so long to earn her degree,” recalled Stratton. “She finished up [school] about three years ago, and she encouraged me to apply—she sat down and helped me. And I won!”
As all SN professionals know, crunching the numbers is essential for a successful program—and it’s essential for the health and well-being of the students. “When you are doing budgets you are looking at three or four years at a time,” explained Stratton. “The biggest challenge is making sure your kids are fed, and fed foods that they like; putting out good items for the kids.” In her application essay Sherry wrote that her degree will help her make Warren County school foodservice more efficient and profitable, as well as help her create a solid school nutrition team. The combination of more efficient accounting procedures, and improved communication, is Stratton’s recipe for success.
As she works toward her four-year degree in organizational leadership, Sherry says that continuing her education goes beyond the practical applications at her job. “It’s important to remember that if you want to keep growing, you’ve got to learn,” advised Sherry. “Going back to school—it’s hard to explain! You feel smarter, your mind is open to learning. It’s like there is more open space—and you’re going to have something at the end that you can point to and say, ‘I did this!’”
You can help SNA members achieve their educational goals by supporting the School Nutrition Foundation; click here to make a donation.