School district honors beloved employee

by Sonja J. Keith

For 34 years, Marcelle Fielder has worked tirelessly to feed the students in the Guy-Perkins School District.

In appreciation of her work and dedication, the Guy-Perkins School District’s Board of Education recently voted to name the school cafeteria in honor of her. In addition, the school PTO dedicated its cookbook to her.

Born and raised in Guy, Marcelle and all of her five children graduated from Guy-Perkins High School. She stayed at home to care for her children, going to work at the school when the youngest was the only one left at home. “The best thing is I have all my kids living close.”

When asked about the long days and the various tasks she performs, Marcelle admits she enjoys “all of it.” Marcelle likes most “taking care of the children and feeding the children. I know quite a few by name.”

Her school day typically starts at 6:30 a.m. with preparations for breakfast. When that meal is completed, she and the others on staff begin work on lunch for the more than 400 young people enrolled at the school. “We’re doing well if we get out about 2:30.”

During her time at Guy-Perkins, Marcelle has seen many changes in food service and the menus prepared. Some of the students that she served in her early years at the cafeteria now have children attending Guy-Perkins.

Occasionally she will have adults tell her the different dishes they enjoyed in the school cafeteria – from peach cobblers to broccoli with cheese. Personally, she likes making vegetable soup.

In May 2010, Marcelle had double bypass heart surgery but she was back at work at school come August. “I just couldn’t stay away.”

When she’s not working at school, she is working at her home. She cooks quite a bit, and fried potatoes are her favorite to make. Pies – chocolate, coconut and lemon icebox – are her specialty for family gatherings and reunions. “Everybody brings a dish and we have a feast.”

Marcelle recalls fondly some of the funny things that have happened while working at the school. Like the time that she brought three dozen eggs from her chickens to a woman at the school. The eggs stayed in the school refrigerator for weeks, taking up space. Standing at the refrigerator, Marcelle said, “I wish if she wanted them, she’d come and get them.” At that moment, the woman tapped on Marcelle’s shoulder and said, “I’m here to get my eggs.”

Marcelle also remembers a time when she was in a new walk-in freezer and a student closed the door behind her. She yelled for help and another co-worker walked in and heard her. Appreciative to the worker for hearing her, the woman replied, “Oh Ms. Fielder, they had heard you at Guy.”

After the school board voted on naming the cafeteria, Marcelle said she couldn’t believe it but she appreciates the gesture. “I’ve enjoyed working all this time. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t work.”

When asked about her future plans, Marcelle talks about continuing her work at the school. “If I stayed home, I couldn’t stand to see that bus pass when school starts.”