At it's annual Summer Retreat July 15 - 17, 2008, Scott Hoffmann, Chief Operating Officer for Opaa! Food Management announced Marita Harris, Opaa!'s Director of Nutrition Services for the Fayette R-III School District, as the recipient of the sixth annual "Whatever It Takes Award". In making the announcement, Hoffmann talked about how this award was created to recognize the extraordinary efforts of an individual who embodies the "vision" of Opaa! It is given to a person who takes ownership of their position and who goes the extra mile for their clients, co-workers, vendors and the public in general. The person chosen for this award truly finds self-fulfillment in creatively carrying out the duties of their job. They see and act upon opportunities to benefit the company, themselves, and everyone around them.
In presenting the award, Hoffmann described Marita as being an inspiration to those around her, the employees, the students, the school and members of the community. Marita has worked for Opaa! Food Management for ten years with the last two as the Director of Nutrition Services for the Fayette R-III School District..
Hoffmann added that, "Most of us go through life wondering if we have a positive influence on those around us and whether we have ever inspired anyone. Well, for Marita, although I can't speak for others that she might have touched, I would like to take this opportunity to personally and publicly acknowledge her for inspiring me". He continued by stating, " Others have also said how impressed they are with the job she has done for the school district and that she comes up with some new and successful ideas to increase participation in both the breakfast and lunch programs. She demonstrates a genuine concern for students and wants to provide them with the best food options available at the Fayette School District. They also believe Marita is deserving of this kind of recognition, because she truly does "Whatever It Takes" to make the food service program at the Fayette School District the best it can be."
The second award Marita was the recipient of was the 2007-08 Director of the Year award, as announced by Kathy Diederich, Regional Director of Operations for Opaa!. Company officials selected Marita as Director of the Year from among all of Opaa!'s Directors' of Nutrition Services across the State of Missouri. The criteria for selection included top ranking in the categories of creative marketing, employee training, employee safety, fiscal performance, and student and adult participation. In making the announcement, Diederich described Marita as a baker, then as a Kitchen Manager and most recently as the Director of Nutrition Services for the Fayette School District. Diederich went on to say, "Marita keeps a positive attitude and smile with her wherever she goes. She has reached the Pursuit of Excellence Goal status and received admittance into the President's Circle along with achieving all of her goals. She is respected and loved by many, lives by example and is an outstanding Director for Opaa!."
Marita has twin boys; Dantae and Shantae, 22 years old, one granddaughter, 10 months, names Tae' Ania, and her dog named Spice. She enjoys braiding hair, involvement with her church, working with the Fayette High Steppers Drill Team, the girl's basketball team and just helping others.
After the surprise of the moment settled in, Marita said of the awards that she received,
"This can't be true, their not talking about me. I was shocked, no it's not me, this is really true, and I'm receiving both of these awards." She continued by saying, "What a blessing, the things God can do".
For several years, Opaa! was privileged to have the opportunity to work with a motivational speaker and coach, Carol Rogers-Sealy. "Whatever It Takes" was the philosophy of life that Carol Rogers-Sealy lived by and because of her impact on Opaa! Food Management, it was felt that is was an appropriate name for this award. Opaa! Food Management, Inc., is based in Chesterfield, Missouri, and is entering its 30th year of service. Opaa! currently operates the nutrition programs for 64 Missouri school districts and has been serving the nutritional requirements of the Fayette R-III School District since 1989