If you know Kim Gides, you probably know her as the lunch lady at Penn Cambria High School.
For 24 years she has worked in the district, first in the elementary school cafeteria and now the high school, prepping food and running the register for the a la carte selections.
“I love the kids. They’re awesome and they keep me young,” the 56-year-old Lilly resident said. “The high school kids are really enjoyable and they are respectful; I absolutely love it.”
She said she takes a few seconds to talk to each of the students who come through her line, and they’ll chat about anything and everything, especially sports. She often makes a point to ask the athletes how they played in a game the night before.
“But you have to have manners, please and thank you are a must in my line,” Gides said.
And it’s her love of sports that lead her to becoming a PIAA certified volleyball referee.
“I’m so excited about this,” Gides said. “I wanted to give it a try because I love volleyball and I’ve played in coed and women’s leagues.”
She applied for the certification and was sent a manual of rules and regulations.
“It was a lot to take in with all the signals and signs,” Gides said.
In February, she took a
100-question multiple-choice test at Hollidaysburg Area High School with 41 other people looking to receive referee certification in a variety of sports.
Gides is set to referee her first game April 29 for a junior high girls game at Northern Cambria High School.
“I want to get some junior high games in before I do varsity games in the fall,” she said.
In the meantime, she’s been volunteering her time to officiate scrimmages and watching other officials to help her become more comfortable with refereeing games.
“I’m nervous, but I love the game, so I’m ready to go,” Gides said.
In addition, Gides spent 15 years working at Penn Cambria sporting events collecting tickets.
“I collected tickets at wresting, basketball, volleyball and football games,” she said. “I was looking to do something more and it was a nice added income, plus I wanted to be involved with the kids.”
And from 1984 through 1997 she served as coach of the former Lilly Raiders grade school cheerleaders, instilling the fundamentals and basics of cheerleading. She also led many squads to state championships.
“We had some really good squads and it was fun to work with the kids,” Gides said. “I never had a girl, so I guess this was my way to get a girl.”
Joe Skura, a close friend of Gides, said no matter where she goes people say hello and call her name.
“Kim is a very kind-hearted person with such a good heart,” he said.
“She feels like everyone’s mom and she would do anything for anyone, and she does.”
Gides has been married to her husband, Joe, for 36 years and the two have one son and two grandsons.
Both like to volunteer in the Lilly community, including participating in Relay for Life and with the Lilly-Washington War Memorial Association.
“I just don’t like to sit at home,” Gides said. “I’m a people person.”
And she credits her positive and upbeat outlook on life to her husband, who has battled some serious health conditions over the years.
“You have to live each day and enjoy each day, and be thankful for every day that you get,” Gides said.
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