Honoring Anita Smith: A Centerpiece of Food and Care at Silver Springs School

Marty Mathiesen, Principal, Silver Springs High School

Anita Smith was a dear friend and centerpiece of the Silver Springs High School staff.  

Anita was the lead person with food services at the high school, but to Silver kids and staff, she was a lot more.  Anita knew every kid in school and she felt a personal responsibility that each and every student was cared for and had plenty to eat.  Students and families under the poverty line are supported by a free and reduced price meal program which means the cost of student meals is covered by the state.  Silver Springs High School is identified as an entire school that meets that criteria. 

Meals at Silver mean more than just a meal and Anita knew that.  Oftentimes, the school meal might be the only meals our students get, so when our students are hungry, Anita made sure that they got as much food as they wanted and she always promoted nutritious food to the best of her ability.  Her care, effort and heart were conveyed with every meal she made.  When I came to the cafeteria to check in with her she would always greet me with, “Hey Marty.. . . . check this out.  You gonna love it.” She would tell me all the ingredients she used and how she made it.  We all loved what Anita made for us each day.  

Anita cooked every day and she put her heart into the meals she prepared.  Because our school enrollment is at 200, it is difficult to provide options and choices and maintain a budget, but Anita would always make more for kids if they ran out of anything they wanted. 

Beyond her commitment to her work, Anita understood our kids who need special understanding and tolerance.  Silver Springs is a school built on “relationships first” and that means every relationship in the school; students, teachers, classified staff, administration, everyone.  We take kids on about 50 field trips a year and Anita always provided plenty of food for our trips.  Anytime Anita was gone for a day or two, kids noticed and so did I.  The cafeteria culture of friendliness and kindness was centered around Anita and her big heart.  She loved her job and it showed. 

Anita is missed by all of us, remembered every day, and never forgotten.