July 18, 2013 – The final day of SNA’s Annual National Conference 2013 began with powerful Closing General Session, during which the 2013-2014 SNA Board of Directors – including new President Leah Schmidt – were installed and keynote speaker Jarrett J. Kroscozka presented a fascinating look at the world of School Lunch Superheroes.
For the final time, 2012-2013 SNA President Sandra Ford addressed the Association’s membership, bringing full circle her message of transforming school nutrition. As CEO Patricia Montague remarked, “You’ll always be Optimus Prime in our book.”
Schmidt then took to the stage, announcing her presidency’s theme, “Positive Partnerships for Healthy Results.” “We have a lot to do this year at SNA,” she said. “But I am so lucky to be working with a capable board.” She concluded by drawing the name of the ANC grand-prize winner, who receives an all-expenses-paid trip to ANC 2014 in Boston – Robin Smith, who happens to be Schmidt’s assistant in the Hickman Mills School District in Missouri. “It wasn’t fixed!” Schmidt exclaimed.
For the final portion of the session, SNA welcomed Kroscozka, author of the Lunch Lady graphic novel series. He told the fascinating story of how his crime-fighting lunch lady came to existence – a process that took eight years from inception to publication, and began with a trip back to his own elementary school in Worcester, Mass., and a reconnection with his childhood lunch lady, on whom the story is based.
“There’s nothing more loving than feeding someone,” Kroscozka said. He announced that just that morning, on the day of the General Session, he had submitted the final pages of his 10th and final – for a while! – Lunch Lady book, “Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle.”
The session concluded with four surprise guests, the women who appeared on The Food Network’s reality cooking competition, “Chopped.” The theme of school lunch superheroes continued – “For me, it was an honor and privilege [to represent the profession],” said Shannon Solomon, one of the contestants. “We’re all heroes, every single day.”
The Annual National Conference in Kansas City, Mo., concluded Wednesday evening with a rousing performance from country singer Darius Rucker, who serenaded the crowd with such hits as "Wagon Wheel" and "Hold My Hand," a beloved hit from his Hootie and the Blowfish days. Today, some 6,000 members and exhibitors will begin their journey home across the country, and begin eagerly preparing for ANC 2014 in Boston, Mass.
The ANC conversation doesn’t have to end just because the conference is over! You can keep it going on our social media sites—comment on our posts, share your thoughts about the conference and post pictures. Connect with SNA on Facebook, follow @SchoolLunch on Twitter and view candids of your favorite conference moments on Flickr, www.flickr.com/schoolnutrition.
July 18, 2013 – The water supply in Prince George’s County, Md., has been restored and the SNA Headquarters office will reopen today, Thursday, July 18. A water main break in the area had forced the SNA office to close early on Tuesday, July 16 and stay closed through Wednesday, July 17.
We apologize for any inconvenience caused by this service disruption. If you tried calling the SNA Headquarters office during this time and did not receive an answer, please try calling the SNA Service Center today at (800) 877-8822 or email@example.com, they will be happy to help you. While many SNA staff are still making their way home from the Association’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, you can still reach them via email.
Thank you for your patience!
July 17, 2013 – Yesterday, broadcast journalist Lisa Ling received a standing ovation from the audience at the second General Session at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Kansas City, Mo., after a riveting speech focusing on thinking about the consequences of actions, as well as taking the time to get to know the story of the people around you.
Ling, who said her career was influenced by other broadcast journalists such as Connie Chung, offered a number of anecdotes about children, including boys armed with machine guns in Afghanistan. It was experiences like these that evolved her career goal from “a desire to be on TV to have a better life to wanting to tell these stories,” she said.
Although Ling’s talk mostly focused on her adventures as an international journalist, she touched on the importance of the work of SNA members. “I truly applaud all of you for being here and taking the health of our children so seriously.” During a question-and-answer segment, Ling also admitted that her favorite school lunch foods growing up were the least-healthy options, such as sloppy Joes. “It just goes to show how things have changed enormously,” she added.
As for Oprah, with whom Ling works closely, as she show appears on the Oprah Winfrey Network, “Oprah is cool,” Ling said, getting the question out the way early in the speech. “Oprah said to me once, because you have the welfare of so many kids in your hands, ‘Now that you know, you can't pretend that you don't,” she said.
But it wasn’t just Ling who gripped the SNA membership -- Janey Thorton, USDA FNS deputy under secretary, provided a USDA update, during which she both acknowledged the challenges of the evolving regulations and praised school foodservice professionals. “Thank to your hard work … our reputation has changed, not just nationally, but internationally,” Thornton said. She cited that as of the end of April, three-quarters of school districts had applied for 6 Cent Certification, while 50 percent were certified. She gave a special call-out to Colorado, which achieved 100 percent certification.
ANC wraps up today, Wednesday, July 17, with the Closing General Session, featuring keynote speaker Jarrett J. Krosoczka, the installation of the 2013-14 SNA president and board of directors and the final event, featuring country-rock singer Darius Rucker.
Can’t get enough ANC excitement? Join SNA on Facebook and @SchoolLunch on Twitter to be part of the conference buzz—or simply add hashtag #ANC13 to your tweets and be part of the conference Twitter stream.
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