Local middle school bids farewell to 91-year-old food services employee

- When 91-year-old Carmela Ferro walked into Wissahickon Middle School Tuesday of last week for her last day of work she was met with a surprise party.

"The principal said don't work me too hard today," said Carmela as she walked in.  Carmela was retiring after 30 years working in the school cafeteria.

"Everybody they said surprise," said Carmela.  Students and staff showered her with gifts.  They presented her with 30 balloons and 30 chocolates.  The principal explained why.

"Godiva was created the year you were born," she explained.

I talked to Carmela and her husband Guido at their home a week after the sendoff.

"That made me really emotional and everybody started crying and everything," said Carmela.  Her daughters, some of her grand and great grandchildren and her husband were also there.

"I looked to him and I said you knew this didn't you? He said no. Guido lied,” laughed Carmela.  This was her second career year job.  She worked as a welder at a company in Fort Washington and retired from there at 62 years old but says she still needed something to do.  Her oldest daughter suggested working in the school.

"I started making the pretzels and the fruits. I made hundreds of fruits a day. Then I go to the cookies and make all the cookies. I would count my dishes and my plates. You had to count everything," she said.  And then she would serve lunch but after three decades Carmela decided it was time to go.

 "My feet. I have a hard time walking long distance. I have a hard time walking."

Already she misses her coworkers and the children.

"I really started crying and I missed them. There's lot of good children."

Guido is even happier.

"Well I'm happy she's home now. At least I have a companion because I retired when I was 65," said her husband who would take her to work and pick her up every day.

Carmela won’t miss getting up at 5:30 every morning though. She’s worked with the Wissahickon Food Services Department since the late 80’s in the high school, middle and elementary school cafeterias.


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