LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Wes Clarke

Position: Food Services Director
School: Jackson Hole High School
School District: Teton County School District
City, State: Jackson, WY

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Music that Describes Wes

Wes Clarke was nominated by Jeff Daugherty, the district's assistant superintendent of operational services.

Teton County School District is situated in the wealthiest county in the state of Wyoming. However, approximately 40% of the population is considered "food at-risk." For a variety of reasons, many of the families in Teton County are unable to qualify for free and reduced lunch, while others refuse out of personal pride.

To address this problem, Mr. Clarke solicited donations from members of the community who have been blessed financially in order to pay the past due lunch tabs of students who could not afford to. He is presently working to develop a local program to provide free lunches for students who cannot afford them.

Additionally, Mr. Clarke helped create Munger Mercado. This program partners with a local elementary school to provide backpacks full of food for students to take home with them over the weekend so they don't go hungry. He makes the program available to all students, so that at-risk students don't feel shamed into taking a backpack.

Mr. Clarke also puts on a summer meal program to ensure students have access to healthy meals over the summer. On standardized testing days, Mr. Clarke offers free protein smoothies in the morning so students are firing on all cylinders. Additionally, he attends the 4-H livestock sale every year to support students and encourage buyers to donate animals to the school. 

"As I write, Mr. Clarke is preparing to head into the kitchen at 4:00 a.m. to provide a prime rib lunch for our veterans," said Daugherty. "This event connects veterans with students and provides a firsthand account of the hard-fought freedoms we all enjoy. Few vets leave this event with a dry eye." 

Another program Mr. Clarke collaborated to build is the Internet Cafe at Jackson High School.  This program provides an internet bar, coffee bar and snack bar so students have a place to catch up on studies and grab a snack. He sought involvement from the Special Ed program to staff the cafe - which provides real-world life skills for these students. 

As a professional chef, Mr. Clarke benefits all students with his skills. His school is limited in what they can offer in lunch lines, so Mr. Clarke creatively works to acquire locally-sourced fruits and vegetables and curate them into amazing lunch offerings. Many of these fruits and veggies are student-grown!

School lunch participation has increased dramatically since he took the reins of the department. He is able to somehow balance Federal Standards with culinary skill to provide some amazing offerings.

In his free time, Mr. Clarke serves as the Varsity and JV football offensive line coach.  He also serves as a coach for two youth hockey teams. Additionally, he plays hockey for the local team.  This 6 foot 7 inch, 300 pound man is arguably the nicest man in the galaxy, but on the ice, he is the "enforcer" for the team.  This makes sense when one understands the enforcer is actually the protector of his teammates. 

What is truly important to know about Mr. Clarke is that he forms relationships with virtually all of the students. Because of those relationships, he has the ability to truly "see" students. He knows when they face personal challenges and can lend an ear, offer a meal or encouragement, and in some cases, direct students to resources they desperately need. 

"Mr. Clarke embodies all that is service excellence. He has crafted the food services program in to something far better than he was given," said Daugherty.

Comments (38)

Jeffrey B. Daugherty Posted 7 months ago

Wes' impact on Wyoming is larger than that of the John Deere Tractor!

Heather Schon Posted 8 months ago

Way to go Wes! You definitely leave a positive mark on our food service department! Your services are well admired!

Angela Posted 8 months ago

So thankful for the work Wes does everyday!

Charity Brunner Posted 8 months ago

I don’t know Wes personally, but I have heard only good about this man! My son Evan Brunner said “ He is super cool and is well liked by all the students.” He has my vote!!!

Dulce Posted 8 months ago

You deserve it. You do alot for our kiddos.

Wendy Moses Posted 8 months ago

This is amazing - children are our heritage and to help them in this way is procuring the future. No one should go hungry and no one should be embarrassed - you rock! Thank you for what you are doing to make a difference in this world - it counts for all eternity??

Sara Posted 8 months ago

Heart of gold! Impacting lives in such a tangible way on a daily basis!

Katie Holmes Posted 8 months ago

Wes!!!! There are SO many ways you contribute and change lives where to start! You are truly a gift to our community!

Janice Posted 8 months ago

Wes is an amazing dad and is an amazing advocate for children in the community. I can’t think of a better recipient.

Estelle Posted 8 months ago

What a beautiful way to make a difference, keeps busy and with good causes. I'm sure they will follow his model. Very honored to know Wes!

Owen Posted 8 months ago

He sounds amazing!! Well done!! Atta take care of those kids!!

Ruth Posted 8 months ago

Thank you for working so hard to make a better life for the students in your district. We are so proud of you!

Kristine Crowe Posted 8 months ago

Wes is a great young man. He works so hard and is so smart. He really goes after challenges. He has my vote

Carla Hudson corum Posted 8 months ago

Wes is a life changer in many ways!

Rebecca Posted 8 months ago

Your so awesome! So glad you are being recognized!

Melissa Posted 8 months ago

Growing up as an under privileged child, I remember going without lunch many times because we were broke. At that time, we could only go “in the hole” once, MAYBE twice... I hope that schools around the country have someone like Wes who sees a problem, and finds a solution. A child’s ability to learn should never be compromised because of hunger. Thank you Wes!!

Glenn Hyde Posted 8 months ago

Great job ,Wes . Congratulations on the nomination . You are very deserving of the recognition !

Kayla Galli Posted 8 months ago

Way to go, Wes! Super cool to hear more about the great work your doing in Jackson!

T.J Thomas Posted 8 months ago

Heck ya buddy, well deserved, you are doing awesome wes, congrats

Lucas Posted 8 months ago

This is no surprise to me. He cares so much about others and does everything he can to help them. He is more than deserving of this honor!

Kristen Hershock Posted 8 months ago

This honor could not go to a better role model!! Wes is undeniably deserving of this nomination!

Twila Berge Posted 8 months ago

Love this Wes!

Arlene Hyde Posted 8 months ago

Great job, Wes. Thank you for reaching out to those in your community. Keep up the good work.

Kim Tsuji Posted 8 months ago

Way to go Wes! Thanks for serving your community so well! Your heart for others is a testament to the strong, honorable man you are!! ??

Daphne Posted 8 months ago

These are amazing programs for those kids! Great job being a voice for those in need!

Stacy Posted 8 months ago

What an amazing asset to our community in so many ways!

Cathy Blount Posted 8 months ago

I am always so impressed with all of the ways that Wes goes above and beyond to ensure that ALL of the kids in our community have access to healthy food year round. Our school system had a good food service program before he took the lead, but now it is really an amazing, community serving program. The need for a healthy meal doesn't end with the school day or school year for our kids, and Wes recognizes that and has stepped up with programs that addresses this need. More than that, though, he looks after the needs of all of the kids in the schools with salad bars, extra soup and sandwich options, special events, and so much more. Thank you so much for thinking outside the box and putting the kids first in so many ways, Wes Clarke!

Megan Posted 8 months ago

What an honor and we’ll deserved nomination for Wes! He puts all he has into his job to serve others. He is passionate and has such a serving and giving heart! He more than deserves this honor!

Bev Bondt Posted 8 months ago

What an exceptional program! I knew a bit about what he did for the food program at the school but didn’t realize the caliber! Exceptional work, Wes! I’m proud of you and whether you win or not, you are indeed a life changer!

Brody Clarke Posted 8 months ago

Life Changer of the Year Award to Wes Clarke!

Katie carr Posted 8 months ago

Wes always goes above and beyond!

Lisie Smith Posted 8 months ago

#LCOY with Wes Clarke

Jaime Knapp Posted 8 months ago

Wes, you are an inspiration to us all. You are humble, kind and yes, the enforcer, but only when it means you can help make someone else’s day better. The kids of Jackson Hole are so lucky to have you on their side! Keep fighting for what’s right and please let us know if there’s anything we can do or give from MN to help support!

Mary Madsen Posted 8 months ago

Great job!!!

Lauren Posted 8 months ago

I worked in a school where Wes did and it was always fun to see him hand out lunch and introduce new foods to the kids!

Dan Posted 8 months ago

Such a thoughtful way to make an impact on your community. Way to go, Wes. Proud of you.

Eric Ballard Posted 8 months ago

Congratulations Wes! Well deserved and wishing you continued success!

Katie Posted 8 months ago

Wes works tirelessly for the students in our school district. He is always ready to pitch in and get things done.