Child Nutrition Staff Unsung Heroes Of The School Day

Lindsey Morehart, Staff Writer

It takes a lot of work to run a school. Teachers schedule their lessons down to the minute five weeks in advance, principles keep track of everything from student drama to district policies, custodians clean the school from top to bottom every night and lunch ladies prepare enough meals to feed almost a thousand hungry teenagers. And yet, these remarkable educators stand by their students day by day until they graduate.

“My favorite part is the kids,” cafeteria worker Katy Marston said. “I can tell when kids are having a bad day and that’s when I try to tell them they’re beautiful and make them smile.” And Marston isn’t the only one with that opinion.

“I love seeing the students,” cafeteria worker Jane Davis said. “And I love baking for them too!”

The child nutrition staff gets here bright and early, “sometimes as early as 5:30 to start unloading food trucks and preparing food”, said cafeteria worker Dalia Lopez. Typically, they leave before school ends, “unless it’s a crazy busy day.”

The difficulties that come with working in the cafeteria are immense.

“The most difficult part is end of the year clean up,” Marston said. “We clean the bejesus out of the kitchen! From top to bottom, floor, vents, ovens, and everything else.”

These cafeteria workers don’t work as much just for the money. They work for the hours that give them more freedom to spend with family.

“I wasn’t needed at home anymore,” Davis said. “My kids grew up and I didn’t want a full time job to take away from my days.”

Marston, also, was in agreement, but for different reasons.

“I spent seven years in the army and I went to Germany,” Marston said. “Then I worked eleven years at Walmart. But I didn’t get any holidays or summers off there. And that’s what I wanted, time to be with family.”

Their biggest issue, however, is students leaving behind a mess.

“Wiping down the lunch tables wouldn’t be so bad if the kids picked up their trash,” Davis said.

Lopez agrees.

“Your mom doesn’t work here. But we like to walk around and pick up trash to help the students out. We know that lunch is really the only time they get to sit down and talk to one another.”

Even though there’s a mess to clean up, the Child Nutrition Services staff’s favorite part of the year is Thanksgiving when they serve their famous Thanksgiving lunch.

“We all get the chance to work as a team,” Marston said. “It’s the best day of the year.”