Do you remember your elementary school lunch staff? Do you even know the faces of your high school lunch staff today? Maybe you can recall them wearing a hairnet or an apron, but behind those counters are individuals who are far unrecognized in the role they serve.
Sandra Aceves is the nutrition services supervisor at the Arcadia High School cafeteria. Some of her daily tasks include managing other employees, creating menu items, and serving lunch.
Aceves explained why she chose to work in the Arcadia Unified District, and how it is incomparable to the rest.
“Arcadia Unified is very involved with students. I’ve noticed that in this community, everyone takes more pride in their work than I’ve seen in the other districts,” she said. “Arcadia provides amazing opportunities and programs for amazing students. They’re all very well-mannered and considerate. I enjoy coming to work every day.”
Serving the students and earning their satisfaction is a large reward to Aceves.
“I love hearing students say they love the menus or a food we provide becomes their new favorite thing. I enjoy making them happy,” she said.
“The best part of my job is serving lunch. It’s nice to see familiar faces and hear about the new things happening on campus; they help me to stay connected. I always like to hear the things they’re interested in,” she added.
Aceves claims that the hardest part about her job isn’t necessarily having to deal with littered floors or milk spillage, but rather a problem that occurs at a larger scale.
“The most difficult part about my job is having to come up with menus that comply with the ever-changing state and federal guidelines. It seems to me that every year, there are more restrictions,” she said.
However, students can play their part to make Aceves’ job a little easier.
“I wish students would have their ID cards on them so that way, it helps more students to eat faster,” she said.
Nonetheless, Aceves’ biggest priority are the students and making sure they receive quality food.
“I like hearing positive feedback from students. It inspires me to make more menu items, like putting out the fruit cups and hearing students say they like them. It helps me to add more products they’d like to eat,” she said.
It’s easy to take something, or someone, for granted when it becomes a daily occurrence. We often forget the impact of their existence because it is now a regularity, and even expected. Take a moment to acknowledge the people who make your day a little easier.
It is these kitchen, custodial, counseling, and library staff who make up an integral piece of the school system. These are the unsung heroes who create the biggest differences with the littlest recognition. It’s time we give back.