‘Always has a smile on her face’: Beloved cafeteria worker celebrates 95th birthday with students

A beloved Georgia cafeteria worker has been celebrating her birthday the same way for nearly three decades: by handing out cookies to students. 

“She has been passing out these birthday treats for so long, that parents of our kids were the recipient,” Thomas Trippany, principal of Shiloh Elementary School in Gwinnett County, said. 

Martha Strickland, affectionately known as “Granny,” turned 95 Tuesday and naturally, it was a big deal.

Staff and students helped her celebrate the milestone with balloons and sidewalk chalk birthday messages outside of the school.

Martha Strickland, affectionately known as

Martha Strickland, affectionately known as "Granny" poses with cafeteria staff on her 95th birthday. (Courtesy of Thomas Trippany)

“She was on the morning announcements and the entire school sang happy birthday to her in the morning and at lunch,” Trippany said. 

Granny is so loved at Shiloh Elementary that there is a plaque with her picture on it at the school’s entrance. She also has her very own garden, which was “spruced up” with more plants for her special day.

“She always has a smile on her face and always says that she is doing great,” Trippany said. “She arrives at work an hour early every morning.”

Before coming to Shiloh Elementary in 1991, Granny worked for 37 years in data processing for the City of Atlanta. She is considering retiring in three years, which would total 30 years of serving up cookies, smiles and hugs.