- Lucy Gray
Behind the Scenes: SAGE Food Service Director Rachel Perry
Updated: May 3
Here at Chattanooga Christian School, there are a lot of things that go on that we do not see most of the time. The purpose of this series is to shed light on the staff members that may go unnoticed or underappreciated. We hope that this series will reach all the right audiences to create an atmosphere where everyone is appreciated and seen as valued in our community.
SAGE Food Service Director Mrs. Rachel Perry has spent almost 3 decades in the hospitality industry. She has had multiple professions within the industry including being a chef and a pastry chef. She also has experience in the management world. She has been a general manager at country clubs and restaurants like Old Chicago, which is where she worked before she joined the SAGE staff last June.When she applied for the job at SAGE, Perry didn't even know it was for a position at Chattanooga Christian School. She says she was glad that it turned out to be for CCS, though, because this school has been a part of her life since she was in her youth. “The people here have always made it a special place to be,” she says about the community here. Perry felt as though it was a part of God’s plan to bring her back to the campus and be able to nourish the entirety of the campus. She has eternal gratitude for the generosity of this campus. When speaking about her gratitude for her job, she says, “I love being in a place that feels like home to me.”
“I love being in a place that feels like home to me.”
Throughout her days at CCS, Perry is reminded again and again how much enjoyment stems from her work. She says she loves to use her experience with baking as a way to give off a sense of creativity with the desserts for students and faculty. Being able to interact with the students who go through the checkout line everyday brings her true joy. She came to CCS as a student in fifth grade and stayed until she got the diploma, and she even enrolled her daughter this year as a fourth grader. It all makes Perry feel very comforted that the place she grew up in is the same place her daughter can spend her childhood. The specialness of the school community is something she cherishes even after years passed. She says she loves to be a welcoming and friendly person, so she always tries to say something positive to each student who goes through the line. Mrs. Perry simply values human connection.
When not at work, Perry enjoys reading, a passion that brings her to a sum of about 50 books a year. She and her husband also just bought their first home last year, so another thing she loves to do outside of her job is working on fixing it up and also creating inspo boards on Pinterest. Perry also loves to watch her daughter play on the soccer field for school. When she is not working, which usually takes up 10-12 hours of her day, she is with her husband and daughter. They are her favorite people. “My husband and daughter are the very best part of my life,” she says.
Perry has advice and encouragement for the student body as they walk through the school year juggling a multitude of things:
“Choose to be kind even when it's not easy. Especially to yourself.”
“Seek to understand, and be a person who listens to hear rather than a person who listens and only thinks about what they want to say next.”
“You are entitled to nothing. Work hard for the things you want.”
Live with that in mind, she says, and remember that you never know what someone could be going through. Her words inspire us to remember to be a light to those around us and to use polite and friendly language just like Perry does.
Perry’s story reminds us of an important truth: we need to show our appreciation to both Perry and the SAGE staff as a whole. The food service employees usually begin their days at 5:00 a.m., when most of us are still sleeping, to make the food. So always thank them for their service and for getting up early in the morning to be able to care for our school. The staff as a whole all really care about the students and faculty at CCS, so share with them what you like! They want to hear what you think! Remember to treat them all with respect. They all deserve it.