GRACE luncheon returns honoring ‘unsung heroes’

December 13th, 2023

Staff members in security, facilities and environmental services were honored Nov. 29 at the annual GRACE event.  GRACE – “Gathering Respectfully to Appreciate Compassionate Employees” – was created to recognize and thank staff members for their hard work. The event includes a lunch and dinner to ensure staff members on all shifts are honored.

Emily Sneed, in security, has worked at the school almost seven years. She said she found the luncheon very thoughtful, and she felt appreciated.

“I appreciate the student body doing this,” she said. “It’s very generous. We’re a family here.”

Janitor Keith Price echoed her sentiments. He’s worked at the school five years.

“My time at this school has been a great adventure,” he said. “Everyone I’ve met here is so friendly and caring. I tell you, if I could stay here forever I would.”

This was the first GRACE event since the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was hosted by the Student National Dental Association. In the past, several student groups collaborated to plan a meal for the entire staff, but SNDA co-president Serena Brown said they considered this year a “soft launch” to bring the event back.  Future GRACE meals will likely see more coordination with other student groups, as well as the inclusion of more staff members.

“I’m not sure the exact years, but this tradition has been going on for quite some time,” Brown said. “We’re really excited that we can honor those who are the unsung heroes of the school –   those who are here at night and early in the morning, making sure that our school is running.”

Co-president Joyce Akinnibosun added, “The people here have been the backbone to our time here. We’re happy to do something special for them.”

— Caleb Vierkant

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