Day in the Life of a Fremont Lunch Lady

There’s no doubt the Fremonts nutrition specialists, better known as the lunch ladies, are the backbone of our high school. From serving their famous spicy chicken sandwiches to monitoring each student’s lunch account they certainly have a lot on their “plate”! However, there’s more to these heroines’ work than what meets the eye. 

Lisa Gibby, the unit manager, arrives at the school by 5:30 am. She begins by turning the work appliances on, preparing fresh fruit and condiments for breakfast. Soon after the other lunch ladies start piling in at 7:00 to serve breakfast to the students. 

To keep the job interesting the ladies receive rotation jobs regularly.  Some examples include but aren’t limited to: baking fries, chicken or pizza, preparing and assembling parfaits and making the bread for those delicious rolls. 

They aren’t secretive for their love of making the bread rolls, as most of them will say without any signs of hesitation it’s their favorite side to make. They perfected their system down to a science. “It’s a comforting process,” Char, another lunch lady states. 

After the morning rush our school cooks usually have some down time, this is when they take the opportunity to get some cleaning in before the year comes to a close. There’s been some difficulties: the freezer needing a new part leading to storage being relocated and figuring out how to feed the student body these last few days of school. “It will be sporadic, but we might have six or seven options on those days.” Lisa comments. 

Over the years, the amount  of food being produced and students’ interest levels have dropped. This can be partly attributed to the use of cars to travel to Kents, Westside pizza or Maverick for lunch. Fremont has about 2,300 students, but only feeds around 500. To put it in perspective, that’s close to 22% of the population. 

Aware of the pitfalls in the job, the ladies attempt to make up for the lack of variety with creativity. They look for any way they can to add more flavor to the meals and make them more closely resemble a home cooked meal. Due to the Michelle Obama Act, food and its nutritional content is heavily monitored. It’s the small gestures that are the most important, from adding kiwis to the parfaits for some variety, and drizzling the rolls in frosting and cinnamon sugar for the taste. They really have the kids’ best interests at heart. 

What makes the job worth it is the relationships they build with the students. It could be asking the student if they went to prom or asking about sports and hobbies, the goal is to make a kid crack a smile. 

Char is a shining example of this. Over her 20 years of experience she’s gotten flowers and wedding announcements from students she’s bonded with. With the tallent of developing rapport, she goes out of her way to learn names and ask how their day’s been so far. Unfortunately, Char is retiring this year, everyone loves Char, and it goes without saying many will miss her when she hangs up her apron.

As the year comes to an end, make sure to give your compliments to the chefs. These ladies are giving their best efforts to turn regular school lunch into moms home cooking. 

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