‘Just love what I do:’ Clay school cafeteria assistant honored with Florida School Lunch Hero Award

ORANGE PARK, Fla. — An Orange Park Elementary School cafeteria assistant was honored Thursday as a statewide school lunch hero.

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services presented Varonique Corlato, known as Ms. Nique to students, with the 2024 Florida School Lunch Hero Award.


There were more than 260 nominations for this award in the state and each year, only five statewide recipients are selected. Ms. Nique was one of them.

Nominations come from children, parents, and school officials across the state recognizing school nutrition professionals’ critical role in the school community.

Ms. Nique received $2,000 from No Kid Hungry Florida, along with prize packs from the Dairy Council of Florida, a trophy, and a hero cape.

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Many would describe Ms. Nique as compassionate, thoughtful and dedicated.

She has been a cafeteria assistant at Orange Park Elementary School for 8 years, and each time kids walk through the lunch line, she makes sure they are well taken care of.

“I always ask them ‘Do you need a hug’ and I show them my heart,” Ms. Nique said.

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Students, faculty, and staff at the school surprised her with this award.

“I didn’t know what was going on,” Ms. Nique said. “I just got out and he said, ‘Come out’ and everybody is looking at me and there were cameras.”

It wasn’t until she saw a sign with her name on it that she knew she was being recognized for the work she does.

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“I just love what I do,” Ms. Nique said. “I love my children.”

Ms. Nique is out pouring gratitude to everyone as she accepts this award.

“You do things, not expecting nothing in return, so I just love what I do,” Ms. Nique said.

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