MARSHALL AND OHIO COUNTIES, W.Va. (WTRF) — The Ohio Valley has two out of the 10 finalists for the West Virginia School Service Personnel of the Year award.
They are not teachers, but servants who make a world of difference on any given school day.
When I serve my students, I feed them with a smile and tell them, ‘Have a nice day. Enjoy your lunch.’ And in return I rub off on them and they’re telling me, ‘Miss Julie, you have a nice day.’Julie Clayton, Cafeteria Manager at Glen Dale Elementary, Finalist
Julie Clayton feeds about 140 students every day in a Marshall County school year.
Going on her 11th year, she says waking up at 4 every morning is no problem when she knows the new day will come with new tales to tell.
“A lot of stories! I have this one little girl, her name is Ezmay. And she was a kindergartener. She goes. ‘Miss Julie, I love your food! I can tell you cook with love.’Julie Clayton, Cafeteria Manager at Glen Dale Elementary, Finalist
Miss Julie was honored with a similar award at Central Elementary a couple years back, but she says she’s never made it to the state level.
And in Ohio County, Secretary Jody Miller says her 14 years have been intertwined with work, motherhood and a servant’s heart.
I’m the person that the teachers come to make sure their students have all the necessary supplies they need for their achievement.Jody Miller, Secretary for Ohio County Schools, Finalist
It’s also her work outside of school that paves a better world for Ohio County students.
Jody started the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Chapter in Ohio County and then Students Against Drunk Driving.
In March of 2008, I had only worked here for about 7 months. And, I had received a knock at the door telling me my eldest daughter had been in a car crash.Jody Miller, Secretary for Ohio County Schools, Finalist
Jody’s daughter, Heather Miller, died but she was an organ donor who saved four strangers’ lives.
You could say Jody’s life changed after that dark time.
For these two finalists, calling their work a ‘job’ is strange. It’s much more than that.
If I didn’t have my bills to pay, I would work for free. I just love it. This is the best job ever.Julie Clayton, Cafeteria Manager at Glen Dale Elementary, Finalist
And the recognition?
I guess it inspires me. Like, what can I do next?Jody Miller, Secretary for Ohio County Schools, Finalist
The 2021 Service Personnel will be announced on September 7th in Charleston where all the 10 finalists will head.