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Lunch Lady Land
by Matt Soloman and Aniko Zala, Staff Writer

It's a routine we're so used to: enter the cafeteria, pick out a home-cooked meal, pay for it and enjoy. We never take a minute to think about the time, hard work, and care that goes into the food that is presented to us daily. Eighteen dedicated men and women work tirelessly to prepare the meals we often take for granted.

Although it may seem the process of setting out meals is simple, it's a very complex ordeal. Imagine the responsibility of feeding more than 800 students and teachers. The high school lunch staff feeds not only the students here, but also those at the middle school and both elementary schools. Here, the staff prepares food for all the district's students, and a driver takes hot and cold units, filled with food, to the other schools. Interestingly, the food selection at the high school is more varied than that of the middle and elementary school because those schools must adhere to strict nutrition requirments that don't apply here.

Back in the high school cafeteria, far more food is home-cooked than one might expect. While some things, like chicken patties and corn dogs, are frozen, all of the soups, sandwiches, sauces, and most special meals, are prepared here in the high school kitchen. For example, for the famed, "Turkey Chunks and Gravy," the staff cooks twelve whole turkeys, and then chops them by hand. This hands-on, home cookin' approach surprises many students: "They chunk their own turkeys?" a senior asked incredulously.

Clearly, the West G lunch staff takes the duty of feeding the students as far more than just a job. For some of the staff just coming to work is a big commitment. While the head cook, Mrs. Widing, lives only minutes away, the food service manager, Mr. Gary Bland, drives 75 miles each way to work from his home in Pennslyvania. The whole staff cares for each and every student and wants the best for all. They all say their favorite part of the job is the students. "The kids are great!" says Widing. Mrs. Dee Ziska, the wife of head custodian, Otto, says, "I could work a lot of places; the kids keep me here, I love them... I want these kids to work hard and become president!" Now that's food for thought!!

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West Geauga High School | 13401 Chillicothe Road | Chesterland, OH 44026 | 440.729.5950