Staff Editorial: A thank you to our lunch staff

Just one week ago was School Lunch Hero day, a day to celebrate all the men and women who work so hard to get lunch ready for millions of students across the country. We would like to take this time to say thank you to our own staff, right here at Mason.

We do a pretty good job at Mason of making sure we thank each other for the good work we do. We have leadership awards for the students, and we have Teacher Appreciation Week for our teachers. We write articles where we interview administration and school board members. And every single one of these groups deserves the recognition they receive. 

But our lunch staff doesn’t often get the recognition they deserve as well.

Preparing food for over 3500 students every single day is no easy task. Think about the last time you tried to pack your own lunch, make your own breakfast, or even cook dinner for your family. How long did that take? Ten minutes? Fifteen? Half an hour? Imagine doing that, not just for yourself, but for thousand of other kids your age, every single day. 

It’s a daunting task. Everything has to be ready, and ready on time. No one is going to wait patiently for their food to be delivered fifteen minutes into lunch, and teachers aren’t going to want their students coming back late and hungry. So there’s an incredible amount of pressure to get everything done in time.

The volume of food required to feed so many students is immense. About 261,000 meals are prepared annually for the high school students — that’s 180 pounds of french fries, 375 chocolate milks, and 3500 fruits and vegetables every day. And all of this, without even factoring in the addition of the eighth graders this year. On top of an already overwhelming schedule, our staff had to account for a fourth lunch period. Mason is the largest high school in the state; our lunch staff has to feed more bodies than any other staff in Ohio, and they have to do it quickly. 

The food doesn’t only have to be plentiful, though; it has to be healthy. They make sure that us students get not only a good helping of empty carbs, but of fruits and vegetables, of iron, calcium, vitamins, everything. They make sure that we’re not only full, but that we have the energy to keep running for the rest of the day, and that’s an even bigger deal than the rest.

All of this happens on a daily basis, and we don’t even think about the people behind it. Do you remember the name of the woman who checked you out of the lunch line? Chances are, the answer is no, but these men and women work every single day, relentlessly, to keep us fed. 

For us, lunch time is usually the destressing period of our day — a chance to hang out with friends and take a break from our eight hours of tests and lectures. For them, it’s the pinnacle of all the day’s hard work, it’s the gratification after hours of slaving away, and we completely overlook it. This isn’t a criticism of us, and it isn’t meant to bring down students, it’s simply a reminder to look up from you fries and appreciate the hands that made them. 

So we want to say thank you: Thank you for the pizza, the french toast, the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Thank you for helping us when we don’t have enough money left in our account, and when we’re not quite sure what’s on the menu for today. 

And we want to encourage the students as well: The next time you’re grabbing your food, or checking out, or waiting in line, remember to thank the person that made it all possible.