On Nov. 12, the Shirley School cafeteria had a smoke incident that resulted from a burned plastic component in one of the ceiling lights. The smoke and consequent water system activation resulted in the food that had been prepared to be inedible. What happened next is a testimony to some pretty amazing people.

The transportation director, who had been at a local parts store getting a part for a bus, was on his way back to school. He is also the local fire chief so he stopped by the fire station, got a pumper truck and came on to the school as a precaution, because that is what he does.

The kindergarten through third grades had been served lunch, leaving fourth through 12th grades needing lunch. Within minutes, our maintenance staff was on ladders in the cafeteria repairing the faulty light. The cafeteria staff had pulled turkey slices, crackers, fruit snacks and milk and set up in the dining area of the cafeteria and served the fourth-sixth grades because this is what they do.

The students filed into the cafeteria orderly, undaunted by the excitement of repairs being done in the cafeteria and

water being cleaned up, because that is the type of students that they are.

In the meantime, the cafeteria manager got cases of pizza out of the freezer and the high school principal went to the gym concession stand and raided all the hot dogs and pizza that were in the freezer there, because that is what they needed to do.

The bookkeepers and ALE director went to the home economics lab and fired up four stoves and ovens and started to cook hot dogs and pizza. Secretaries ran to the grocery store and bought all the hot dog buns they could find. Instructional assistants, secretaries and teachers at the high school set up tables in the rotunda and food started to be shuttled down to the high school because that is what they saw needed to be done.

High school students were sent for by grades to come and have hot dogs, pizza, mixed fruit and milk. They were served by teachers and instructional staff. The technology director made sure the large garbage can was emptied when full so that the kids could clean up after they had eaten because that is what needed to be done.

One high school student was heard to say to the group she was sitting with that they needed to move outside because someone else may need to sit down. The group did that because that is what they needed to do and that is the type of students we have.

Our security officer carried wrapped pans of pizza to waiting cars, frozen cases of food from the cafeteria to the home economics lab because that is where it needed to be. Everyone was fed and back to class by 1 p.m.

All of this activity was carried out without anyone barking orders or scratching their heads trying to figure out what to do. If this sounds like a long list of accolades from a Superintendent that is just proud of faculty, staff and students that is because it is and that is what I am.

Betty McGruder


Shirley School District