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Pink for Palubicki

Perham High School students and staff wore pink last Tuesday to celebrate Head Cook Tammy Palubicki’s first full day back in the school kitchen. Palubicki recently finished treatment for breast cancer and is now cancer-free. She is pictured in the center, behind the sign, wearing black. Elizabeth Huwe/FOCUS

“Welcome back, Tammy!”

That was the cheer heard loud and clear throughout the Perham High School lunch room last Tuesday afternoon.

Students and staff alike celebrated Tammy Palubicki’s first full day back at the school since being diagnosed with breast cancer this past spring.

Palubicki, the school’s head cook, had been missing the third lunch shift in order to make it to her treatments, said Lynn Lehman, an administrative assistant at PHS.

Students had come to know Palubicki after seeing her almost every day, year after year.

When they found out she was cancer-free and would be coming back, senior Mariana Alvarado came up with an idea: Encourage everyone to wear pink in Palubicki’s honor.

After serving lunch to students during the third shift, Palubicki was surprised with a “Welcome Back!” poster signed by dozens of students, all clad in pink.

There were a few tears, accompanied by a big smile, after receiving the poster. 

“I did good until… that,” said Palubicki, who managed to hold off tears until seeing the poster. “They’ve been so wonderful and supportive. They’re just the best – I always say, the best – at PHS.”

“It was a long journey, but everyone came on that journey with me,” she said. “It’s just overwhelming.”