Cafeteria Staff

April 25, 2022

One part of the support staff which is crucial for creating a supportive school environment is the cafeteria staff, who make and distribute lunch to hundreds of students daily.

“It is essential that all of our students get a fulfilling lunch every day of the week, and I am thankful to the cafeteria staff for the hard work they do,” Dr. Bockman said. “This year, we have tried some changes to our lunch program in order to try and provide more filling and healthy lunches than the pizza and fries that were served every day before the pandemic. Having a healthy and fulfilling lunch corresponds directly to academic performance, and we thought it was time to change lunches to create a more complete meal.”

It is essential that all of our students get a fulfilling lunch every day of the week, and I am thankful to the cafeteria staff for the hard work they do.

— Dr. Betsy Bockman

Much of the work in creating the new lunches fell onto the cafeteria staff, which is in charge of creating new dishes, putting together lunches and distributing them to students.

“The cafeteria staff, in particular, have worked tirelessly with the company that we work with on school lunches, and have come up with and distributed a product that I think is more healthy than what we had before,” Vincent said.

However, when creating the new lunches for this year, the cafeteria staff have had to face major issues associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, such as a lack of staff and supply-chain shortages. 

“We have struggled a lot this year with simply not being able to get the ingredients we need to make the school lunches, and on top of this, on many occasions, we have also not had the staff needed in the lunchroom to make and hand out all of these lunches,” Dr. Bockman said. “This has led to our lunches not always being up to our standards, but that is the harsh reality of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

These issues have led to many students at Midtown not enjoying the lunches.

“I don’t really like the pre-packaged food because it gets soggy, and am overall not a big fan of the food,” junior Michael Centner said. “However, I see why they had to do it, and there are still definitely days when it tastes good, and I eat it.”

Teachers have also felt the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the lunches at Midtown.

“I used to go down to the cafeteria and eat food there once or twice a week, but have not since the start of this year,” language arts teacher Mario Herrera said. “I don’t go because of the changes to the lunch program and the food, but also because Midtown has made it so difficult for the staff to go and have lunch. I miss my time down in the lunchroom interacting with students and laughing, and I hope things can change.”

One of the biggest differences this year, like on the buses, has been the behavior of the students.

Students wait in line to get their lunch in the cafeteria. This year, administrators and cafeteria staff have struggled with a variety of issues, including supply chain and worker shortages. (Sayan Sonnad-Joshi)

“The students have been more irresponsible than ever before this year, not only in the building as a whole, but also in the cafeteria,” science teacher Lawson Yale said. “They leave their wrappers and food waste strewn all over the tables and thrown on the floors with no care for how the cafeteria workers feel when they have to pick up all of this trash. They expect people to just clean up after them, and don’t realize how hard the cafeteria workers are already working.”

Midtown administrators say that they look forward to improving the new lunches in the future. 

“This has been new territory for us, starting with a new lunch program from when we first left school,” Dr. Bockman said. “It was also tough having not been in school for a year and then suddenly coming back and adjusting to a new reality. I hope that in the future, we can get into a smoother rhythm with lunches, and the process will become easier like how it was pre-pandemic. We also have an amazing staff working in the cafeteria like Mr. Lundy, our cafeteria manager, so I have no doubts that lunch will only improve from here on out.”

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About the Photographer
Photo of Sayan Sonnad-Joshi
Sayan Sonnad-Joshi, Co-Editor in Chief

Sayan Sonnad-Joshi is a Senior and Co-Editor in Chief for the Comment Section and Website on The Southerner. This is his third year writing for the paper....

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