Executive Chef John Bell, culinary instructor at Leesburg High School, was treated to a surprise flyover LHS on Thursday morning as a group of students and school officials celebrated the chef became a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award in Rotary.
The award is given to a Rotarian or a member of the community who has made an outstanding contribution to the community through their professional and/or personal achievements, and Chef Bell was praised for jumping into action last fall in saving the life—twice—of LHS senior Lane Davis who was experiencing heart complications.
“Chef Bell immediately dropped everything and performed CPR right in the middle of the classroom and helped save the student’s life,” says LHS Principal Michael Randolph. “Chef Bell is a fantastic leader of young men and young people.”
Melissa Bready also admires Chef Bell’s dedication to his students. After a suicide attempt, Melissa needed help getting back into school. “Chef John Bell kept pushing for me to come back and everyone wanted me back,” Melissa says. “He was the first person to show me there were good guys in this world.”
Ira Nodelman, operations manager of Pledge Against Bullying, noted Chef Bell has been instrumental in the Anti-Bullying Campaign at Leesburg High School, and he also serves as an advisor of SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. The national organization provides opportunities for students to compete and train in their chosen disciplines with their peers across the country.
Under the direction of Chef Bell, the culinary students at LHS have maintained a winning record in SkillsUSA competitions.