INFLUENCER OF THE WEEK: Matthew Thompson, Ocoee Middle

Matthew Thompson is the food and nutrition manager at Ocoee Middle School, and he is responsible for feeding more than 1,000 students breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack.

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Matthew Thompson is the food and nutrition manager at Ocoee Middle School, and he is responsible for feeding more than 1,000 students breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. He has won the Manager of the Year Award, although he said he feels like he wins every year, even if he doesn’t receive the winning trophy.

“Mr. Thompson is one of the most compassionate and attentive adults on our campus,” said Ocoee Middle School Principal Cheri Leavitt. “He is known by nearly single every student at Ocoee Middle. He is always encouraging students and serves as a strong, confident role-model for our students. He knows the students and their situations and makes an effort to make connections on a daily basis. He uses the fact that he sees nearly every student to serve as a parental figure, mentor and so much more.

“He is always willing to assist and shows up when you need him most. He attends every single OMS evening event and provides support anywhere it’s needed. You can always expect Mr. Thompson to be the shining light at OMS. He is an absolute pleasure to have on campus for students and staffulty members, and Ocoee Middle School would not be the same without him!”


Position: Food and nutrition manager

Time at school: 17 years

What brought you to your school?

I wanted to spend more time with my kids at home, so I quit my job at Disney and started working for the school system.

What do you love most about your school?

The students. Interacting with them and seeing how they mature and develop over the years.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Seeing students or staff members smile whenever I'm able to assist them. That smile of gratitude is all I need.

What would you be if you weren’t in this profession?

I would be working in the construction field.

Who influences you?

My father. He's a very líkeable man and is very hardworking. He allowed me to be independent as I grew up and encouraged me with his calm demeanor.

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

It was our principal. I spent countless hours with him throughout my high school career.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?

I've read so many children's book that it's hard to find a good choice, but “James and the Giant Peach” was pretty wild.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I enjoy spending time with friends and families. I really never have any spare time, as I keep myself busy with fishing, camping, handyman work, grandchildren and my chickens and watching football. Go Bills!

If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?

Josh Allen, because he's not only a good football player, but he wasn't highly recruited out of college and nobody gave him a shot. He still kept going and now is easily one of the better quarterbacks around.

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

I already have the superpower to feed hungry kids, so I'm good.

If you could only listen to three bands or artists, who would they be and why?

I would only listen to Shane Smith and the Saints because they're the best.

What was your go-to lunch and favorite snack as an elementary student?

The square pizza from the cafeteria was legendary.

What is your favorite holiday and why?

It's a tie between Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Fireworks and camping vs. eating too much. My favorite things.

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

Kevin, and, yeah, we stay in touch, but we live too far apart now.

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

Nothing that I can share, as I was a little troublemaker growing up.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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