Lessons I Learned From The Lunch Ladies (PHOTOS)
The Principal may be in charge of education but the lunchroom staff keeps the place going. They are the heart of the school literally. When I think back to some of the most special people in my life I think of my school cafeteria gals.
Angel here and I have told y'all before I moved around a ton. Sometimes I didn't even have time to get cozy in a locker or make even one new friend before I was gone again.
One group of women that stands out to me looking back were those ladies who worked in the lunchroom. It never failed they always noticed I was new. They always asked my name and in the following days, they would ask me how my time at each school was going.
They taught me about hard work. Have you ever seriously watched them prepare to feed the students in their school? They are machines. And they do it with a grace only given by God I swear it. When I worked at Burns Middle School the girls in the lunchroom there sang and goodness they missed their calling. They can sing like no other. Some days I would stop and listen to them and I always went in and talked to them when I had a chance.
I learned how important it was to take pride in my work no matter what I was doing. The students in their school are like their own children. And let me tell you they notice EVERYTHING. From a child having a bad day to one who isn't eating like they normally do. They have a true gift. If they were paid what they are truly worth the school systems couldn't afford them.
It takes a big heart and huge shoulders to do their job. Knowing each day you are preparing meals for some kids who only get to eat the meals you provide can weigh heavily on you. Slipping an extra roll or even preparing snacks for those kids who don't have at home (which unfortunately is frowned upon) is something they will do quietly or with their own money.
They are incredibly smart. Do you know what it takes to prepare and cook meals for 400-sometimes 1500 kids twice a day? Skill, patience, teamwork, determination, and love.
When I arrived at Apollo High School in the 90s the first group to welcome me in were the lunch ladies. I became super close with them during my years in school. I would stop in and say HI between classes and they would always have a special snack for me during study hall. They saved me the best pizza and rolls and the hottest, crispiest french fries. I felt special and like I belonged because of them. Suki was my absolute favorite of all. She hugged me every single day and always had the most beautiful smile on her face. She always made time to talk to me and it turned some of my worst days into some of my best. When I graduated High School I will never forget they all called me into the lunchroom and several of them had gotten me graduation gifts. I was floored. I cried, they cried, and like always we hugged.
Those women gave me something to look forward to every day and they had no idea the difference they made in the life of one young teen girl. They showed me what a workplace and friendship should look like.
Most of them arrive at work before 5 a.m. to make sure your child has a full tummy so they can focus on the rest of their day. And let us not forget how they have careered the pandemic. Making upwards of 500 plus meals a day for families to pick up and take home, doing their best to make sure children got to eat even though they were not at school.
I have wiped tears several times typing this story thinking of the difference they made in my life and also the lives of so many they come into contact with each day, year after year.
If you have a special lunch lady/guy in your life please give them a big ole' shout out and drop a picture of her at the WBKR Facebook page!
Heather Haynes, Cafeteria Manager, at Sorgho Elementary had this to say about all Lunchroom Staff;
Every lunch lady, no matter the county or district, in every school cares about the kids. It's a position that is mentally rewarding and physically exhausting!