On April 10 Jeanne Riley, RSU14 Nutrition Director, will receive the Katherine O. Musgrave Public Service Award at the Maine Nutrition Annual Conference in Augusta at Maine General Hospital.
Nominated by Samantha Cowens-Gasborro, RSU 14 Chef and Nutrition Coordinator, and Stephanie Stambach, Child Nutrition Consultant for the State of Maine, Riley will be recognized for her outstanding work in the field of nutrition policy, education and research within the State of Maine.
|Congratulations to Jeanne Riley (above)|
“I was notified of the award on March 10,” Riley stated recently in an email. “It is such a great honor. Katherine Musgrave was a lifelong champion for nutrition, nutrition education and nutritious and healthful eating.”
To receive a Katharine Musgrave Public Service Award is, without a doubt, a great honor. Originally from Tennessee, Musgrave moved to Maine and began teaching at the University of Maine in 1969. Her passion for nutrition and its impact on a child’s life made her a nationally well-known nutrition expert. Her greatest passion was the importance of a child’s diet and she continued working toward her purpose with nonstop zeal until her death at the age of 95.
Musgrave has been quoted as saying, “My feeling is if we can get children, in the first eight years of their lives, to like food and really appreciate food they’ll eat right the rest of their lives.” (www. bangordailynews.com/2010/02/08/news/bangor/for-dietitian-musgrave-life-just-as-sweet-at-90/)
Riley has the same nutritional philosophy and is well deserving of the award.
“We believe that school nutrition is an integral part of the education community because if children are not properly nourished, they cannot learn - no matter how excellent the education environment is.” Riley began. “While RSU#14’s free and reduced meal percentage is approximately 37 percent, we feel that there are many more families in our community who are living on the fringe; every day having to make critical decisions about whether to purchase nutritious food or pay the mortgage, purchase medication, etc. Our role is to offer not only nutritious and affordable school meals, but also to utilize the cafeteria and our department as a classroom. From afterschool cooking classes to: In-class food education, to school gardens and our current ‘Eat Your Way Through the Alphabet’ promotion featuring fruits and vegetables A to Z for the month of March, which is also National Nutrition Month - we are always trying to enhance the school dining experience and promote lifelong nutritious cooking and eating.”
Riley, it seems, is ahead of her time. “Jeanne is an amazing leader of our school nutrition program,” Cowens-Gasborro said. “She is a forward thinker with great ideas that really benefit the children of this community. She is dedicated to ending hunger in our community and feeding our children good, real food.”
In a recent conversation Riley had about the RSU14 School Nutrition Program, she summarized the most important qualities of the school’s mission for childhood nutrition: “We measure all of our efforts (school meals, special promotions, nutrition education) by the following three statements: 1) We want to feed students delicious and nutritious food so that they are healthy and ready to learn; 2) We want the students to be excited and engaged in eating healthy, delicious food; 3) We want to inspire children and their families to eat healthy, nutritious food at school and at home.”
The students of RSU14 have a great and healthy start in life, thanks to Riley. Her own passion toward children and the impact nutrition has on their lives, will not only contribute to their success now, but for years to come.
“Her vision combined with building a team has built our school nutrition whereby it is recognized across the country as state of the art,” Superintendent Sanford Prince said about Riley. “Our students have greatly benefitted knowing that as a district we are teaching and providing nutritional school meals that will be life changing for many and it is a life skill. My dream is that this generation will see how nutrition has a profound impact with living a healthy life.”
Special congratulations to Riley for her work and dedication.