• Steph Hillard: Cafeteria staff member at Bellefonte Area High School and Benner Elementary School

    hillard 1819 Steph Hillard said she can’t imagine having another job than one that allows her to work with children. The Bellefonte native has worked on the cafeteria staff for four years – primarily at Benner Elementary School. This year, she splits her time at Bellefonte Area High School in the morning before heading to Benner for lunch.

    “The big kicker for me is coming in and working with the kids and seeing them grow,” she said. “I don’t recall in the last four years of working here, ever dreading it. I’m always getting to know the kids and it’s just the little things you say that can make their day. I can sometimes be the first person to make them laugh that day.”

    The students say the same about Hillard. Her cashier was filled with cards from students last fall after she took off some time to recover from pneumonia.

    “It makes you feel good because you get to know the kids well, and they get to know and feel comfortable around you,” she said.

    Hillard began working for Bellefonte Area School District four years ago with help from her son, Owen, who is now a seventh-grade student at Bellefonte Area Middle School.

    “My son went to Benner and he’s what pulled me into the school,” she said. “He told me there was a job at the cafeteria and said, ‘I think you should come here to work so you can see me every day,’ and so I did.”

    At the high school, Hillard works the breakfast cart in the morning making sure students are getting a meal before going to class. In the afternoon, she works as a cashier at Benner during the lunch hour and gets to “see all the little kiddos coming through the line.” That, she added, is her “favorite part of the day.”

    In her spare time, Hillard said she enjoys camping, outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

    *By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD