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West Orange Times & Observer Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022 5 months ago

Influencer of the Week: Andy Sugrim, Dr. Phillips High School

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Andy Sugrim is the Food Nutrition Manager at Dr. Phillips High School.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

Andy Sugrim is the Food Nutrition Manager at Dr. Phillips High School. His duties and responsibilities include overseeing the entire food service operation at the high school and ninth-grade center. With his dedicated and hardworking team of 12 staff members, they are responsible for feeding about 700 students breakfast, 1,700 students lunch and 100 students dinner. His focus is also on training, teaching, coaching and encouraging staff growth. He was honored to be featured on the Orange County Public Schools social media for “Meet the Manager Monday” for the month of February and was an award nominee at the 2021 Annual conference and Expo in November 2021 at Daytona Beach.

What brought you to your school?

I joined the OCPS family on Dec. 3, 2019, as part of the Manager in Training Program. Upon graduation I was sent to Dr. Phillips High School. I have never looked back since. What brought me to OCPS was the work schedule and quality of life with my family.

What do you love most about your school?

I love my food service team of dedicated and hard working women, the administration team, and the custodial and engineering team, who have always supported my team and me. Lastly, I enjoy feeding and building a positive relationship with the students on a daily basis.

What is your motivation?

My passion for food service has always been my drive. My motivation has been teaching, training and coaching, and also watching other individuals advance to the next level(s) in their careers.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

The impact that I have on the students by providing a well-balanced and nutritious meal — while also establishing relationships with the administration team and student body.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy gardening and working on cars. Also, learning how to do things by reading or watching DIY videos.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

Now we’re going back to the mid-lower 1980s, but I had a fifth-grade teacher named Mary. I wasn’t the smartest or well behaved young man, and I got in trouble a whole lot. But every day, Mary encouraged me to do my best and never gave up on me. I have never forgotten Mary’s kind words to this day.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I wanted to become a police officer growing up. My childhood neighborhood wasn’t always the safest place growing up, and I wanted to help change that by becoming an officer to help the communities become better.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

“Native Son” was by far my favorite childhood book growing up. The book was based on “fear” and how to overcome fear in any situation in life.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy camping, canoeing, hiking and anything that involves connecting with Mother Nature.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Knowledge, anything can be taken from you, but the power of knowledge will always remain, and that’s powerful.

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?

I grew up listening to Bob Marley with my dad. He sang about his life and its simplicity. Bruce Springsteen was also my favorite, because I love the passion and power in his voice. Lastly, I grew up in the hip hop era, so I listen to 2Pac. He sang about life’s challenges (such as) injustices and inequality.

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?

I was not a picky young man growing up, so I ate what was offered during school lunches and was very grateful. I did however enjoy the chocolate milk and cookies in the snack lines.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. It’s a time when family and friends can share a meal, enjoy some fun humor, and mostly be grateful for the blessings that we have received.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

Ironically, I have a best friend to this day named Andy. He was the guy (who) always stood up for me and made sure I got home safe every day. We are still in contact with each other, as our friendship will last a lifetime.

What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?

I played in the band as a trumpet player in junior high school in New York City. I was also on the church basketball team, and I graduated JHS with the music award. 

REPORT CARD

School: Dr. Phillips High School

Position: Food nutrition manager

Time at school: Two years, OCPS three years

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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