National group honors Maine nutrition directors

Two child nutrition professionals from Maine schools received national recognition for their work at the recent Annual National Conference of the School Nutrition Association.

Gara Sanborn, school nutrition manager at Coastal Ridge Elementary School in York, won the Louise Sublette Award of Excellence at the conference, which was held in Nashville, Tenn.

Sanborn was recognized for her efforts to boost participation in the school breakfast program.

She invited Caroline Hallisey-Kepka, a three-time Olympic speed skater, to speak with students about the importance of a healthy breakfast. Sanborn also coordinated two contests to generate excitement about the breakfast program.

One contest allowed students to compete for the chance to prepare a special breakfast of yogurt parfaits and sandwiches. The other contest challenged students to design a box for a cereal Sanborn and kitchen staff members created using homemade granola, raisins, dried cranberries and dried blueberries.

Participation in the school breakfast program shot up 62 percent after those events.

Darlene French, president of the Maine School Nutrition Association and child nutrition director for schools in the Boothbay region, was the other Maine professional to garner a national recognition.

French won the Thelma Flanagan Gold Award, an annual recognition of a state association president who supports high professional standards for all association members.

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