FHC says farewell to Shirley “Sugar” Carter

Sophie Bolen, Staff Writer

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The name Shirley Carter may not ring a bell, but say “Sugar” and almost every student who has walked through FHC in the past decade can put a face to that name. Sugar is essentially an allusion to Carter, a bright-eyed, kind-souled, and sweet-tongued lady, all of which happen to help bring her nickname “Sugar” to life.

Carter began working in food service over 40 years ago but has spent the last thirteen years at FHC, and before that at FHN. Carter has an extensive and impressive resume in food service. She began cooking outside of the home in restaurants and then moved on to pouring her passion and knowledge into the school.

When something normally tastes good, many cheesily joke about “love” being a secret ingredient. With Carter, love mixed with a spoonful of passion (and a dollop of many years perfecting her cuisine craft) might as well be the secret ingredient in her success and legacy.

“Overall, I like the job,” Carter said. “I love to cook, and I love when kids eat what I cook and give me a compliment on it. That makes my day sometimes.”

Carter has a radiant, contagious smile, and it beams brightly when she talks about ‘her kids’. Carter, who has never had children of her own, almost adopts the students of FHC with a motherly aura.

“Sugar brought a friendly and kind atmosphere to the lunchroom and spread a positive light,” junior Donald Alm said. “She always called us either sugar or honey, and it really made my day.”

The love between Carter and students is reciprocated. The root of Carter’s love for cooking is planted within the people for whom she prepares her food for.

“Wherever I go, kids and I connect. It’s almost like a known throughout the district” ”

— Shirley Carter

Carter treats every student with kindness. Many kids’ first impression of Carter is when her nicknames for students roll off of her tongue, like “sugar,” “baby,” “honey,” and “sweetheart.” Carter’s unbiased kindness may be rare today, but it is something that is so well-appreciated throughout the district.

“I’m a people person,” Carter said. “I love people. I like being around people. I’m just a people person. And when they are happy, and I’m happy and It makes me smile.”

Students have immediately noticed Carter’s enrapturing energy lacking from the lunch room. Carter has chosen to move to the next chapter of life. While the daily smile and blush may be absent from the lunch line ritual, she still is maintaining a legacy and direct effect on students’ day-to-day lives. Carter has moved from the lunchroom to the district production kitchen, which is located off campus. Carter is conjuring up new recipes that will go directly into the district’s lunchroom.

“I am at production full time now, because they are trying new recipes, doing new recipes,” Carter said. “I am there to experience it, play with it, and see what I can come up with. For instance, we have a new cookie. I am doing that now. So the next cookies you get should be the new cookie, and [students of FHC] need to tell me how [they] like it.”

After some time spent in the production kitchen, Carter will transition into retirement. Carter has had a long, successful, impactful, and delicious career throughout the district and even before that. While her savory meals are to be remembered by the tip of the tongue, her overflowing kindness will have an impact on many hearts from many different backgrounds.

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