Park dedicated to MitchellPublished 7:00am Friday, January 17, 2014
An employee of the Picayune School System for 31 years, Mildred “Granny” Mitchell is recognized within the community as an exceptional human being; one who loves the children who come through her lunch line as if they were her own. On Wednesday, January 15, Mitchell was honored for her years of devotion to local children with the naming of a park in her honor in a sign unveiling ceremony, held on site.
The park, located on Daniels St. and East Sycamore in Picayune had previously not been named, but is now named for Mitchell, after completion of improvements to the park by grant funding from The Lower Pearl River Valley Foundation.
City officials, family and students attended the ceremony. Councilwoman Jan Miller Stevens introduced Mitchell and gave a brief speech on her contributions to what could be up to 15,000 children, throughout the years.
“She is a most deserving lady, who has done so much for our children. The students call her ‘granny’ and she treats them like her own,” Stevens said. “My children and grandchildren have known the blessing of having her as a lunch lady.”
Pearl River County Supervisor, Sandy Kane Smith, said, “Granny was at Roseland Park when I went to school and when my kids went to school there too. She is like my family and we love her.”
Mitchell gave a brief speech in which she thanked everyone for the honor and acknowledged her family, friends and school system family for their support throughout the years.
“I have never been more moved or felt so appreciated as I do today,” Mitchell said. “I thank the mayor and city council for choosing such a beautiful location.
“I have worked in the Picayune School System for 31 years and I never get tired of saying ‘Good morning darling,’ or ‘Don’t forget your milk, now.’ We have 500 students and over 31 years, that is a lot of babies that I have had the pleasure of knowing. It has taught me patience and kept me young at heart.”
In September of 2005, she suffered a heart attack and needed a quadruple bypass. She returned to work in January of 2006 because she could not bear to be away from her children.
“My boss, Debbie Byrd, told me that I could count plates when I came to visit, until I could go back in the kitchen and work with my staff again,” Mitchell said. “She let me continue to be part of the team.”
Picayune School Superintendent Dean Shaw said of Mitchell, “Mrs. Mitchell has a heart as big as the world. She loves these children and is very dedicated to this school, district and students. Because of this, she has organized her department and it functions with her staff working with her, instead of for her. They are truly a team and do a great job. All of this is a reflection on Mrs. Mitchell and our district is very blessed to have her.”