Influencer of the Week: Andy Sugrim, Dr. Phillips High School | West Orange Times & Observer
Andy Sugrim is the Food Nutrition Manager at Dr. Phillips High School. His duties and responsibilities include overseeing all foodservice operations at the high school and ninth grade center. With its dedicated and hardworking team of 12 staff, they are responsible for feeding approximately 700 students for breakfast, 1,700 students for lunch, and 100 students for dinner. He also focuses on training, teaching, coaching and encouraging staff growth. He was honored to be featured on Orange County Public Schools social media for “Meet the Manager Monday” for the month of February and was nominated for the award at the 2021 Annual Conference and Expo. in November 2021 in Daytona Beach.
What brought you to your school?
I joined the OCPS family on December 3, 2019, as part of the Manager in Training program. After graduating, I was sent to Dr. Phillips High School. I have never looked back since. What brought me to OCPS was the work schedule and the quality of life with my family.
What do you like the most in your school?
I love my food service team of dedicated and hardworking women, the administration team and the custodial and engineering team, who have always supported me and my team. Finally, I like to nurture and build a positive relationship with the students on a daily basis.
What is your motivation ?
My passion for catering has always been my driving force. My motivation has been to teach, train and coach, and also to watch other people progress to the next level(s) of their career.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The impact I have on students by providing a well-balanced and nutritious meal – while building relationships with the administrative team and the student body.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like gardening and working on cars. Also, learn how to do things by reading or watching DIY videos.
Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
Now we go back to the mid-1980s, but I had a fifth-grade teacher named Mary. I wasn’t the smartest or the wisest young man, and I got into a lot of trouble. But every day, Mary encouraged me to do my best and never gave up on me. I never forgot 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 be a policeman growing up. My childhood neighborhood wasn’t always the safest place to grow up, and I wanted to help change that by becoming an officer to help communities improve.
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 life situation.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy camping, canoeing, hiking and anything that involves connecting with Mother Nature.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Knowledge, everything can be taken away from you, but the power of knowledge will always remain, and it is 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 of his life and his simplicity. Bruce Springsteen was my favorite too, because I love the passion and power of his voice. Finally, I grew up in the hip hop era, so I listen to 2Pac. He sang about life’s challenges (such as) injustices and inequalities.
What was your favorite lunch as an elementary school student? Favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
I wasn’t a picky young man growing up, so I ate what was offered during school lunches and was very grateful. I did however appreciate 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 fun humor, and most of all be grateful for the blessings 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 touch with each other as our friendship will last a lifetime.
What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Have you won any accolades or accolades?
I played in the band as a trumpeter in middle school in New York. I was also on the church basketball team and graduated JHS with the music award.
School: Dr. Phillips High School
Position: Food Nutrition Manager
Time in school: Two years, OCPS three years
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