A Day in the Life: Centennial Cafeteria Staff


The cafeteria staff dressed up for Decades Day during Homecoming Week.

Maggie Nolen , Staff Writter

We see them every day in the cafeteria, and they are a huge part of our school community, but do we really know what the cafeteria staff does? What is involved in their job and what things do they have to accomplish every day?

The cafeteria manager, Peggy Hicks, gets to work at 6:30 A.M. and leaves around 3:00 P.M. She creates the production for the next day, updates the menu boards, gets the lines set up for breakfast, places orders for the upcoming week, oversees the rest of the staff, and sometimes works as a cashier. In addition, she has to be flexible and fill in if a team member is missing.

A number of students are aware of how hard they work and agree with junior, Bridget McAree, that “People don’t appreciate what they do enough.”

Many elements and people are involved in running the cafeteria, preparing all the food, and taking care of day to day responsibilities. The cafeteria team works well together and makes sure everything is done on time and in a quality manner. The Nutrition staff must follow all the regulations of the USDA and Local and State Health Departments. They must monitor temperatures of all foods during a serving period, verify that expiration dates on all food is current, clean and sanitize work areas, and everyone must wear gloves and hair coverings when preparing and serving food.

The menu for breakfast and lunch everyday can be found at: https://nutrition.fultonschools.org/MenuCalendar. Breakfast, which includes items such as chicken biscuits, french toast sticks, fresh fruit, and juice, costs $1.25 or $0.30 with the reduced price meal plan. Lunch, which includes items such as pizza, assorted fruit mixes, and side salads, costs $2.70 or $0.40 with the reduced price meal plan.

“Fulton County’s goal is to prepare and serve hot and healthy meals to all students each day,” Hicks said.  More prerequisites are required to join the Centennial cafeteria staff than most people realize. A Nutrition Manager must complete a year-long training program.  They do rotations through all levels of schools (elementary, middle and high). Fulton County requires them to pass a Managers Nutrition knowledge test and they must be Serve Safe Certified.

Centennial’s cafeteria staff is very dedicated and most have been with Fulton County for more than six years. Amina Akosa, a junior, said, “The Centennial cafeteria staff is hardworking and kind. They definitely deserve more respect than they get, because they have to wake up early, prepare food for us, clean the kitchen, and since there are three different lunches, they have to work really hard.”

“My favorite part about my job is being able to interact with the students and my least favorite would be all the paperwork,” Hicks said. She also feels as though the cafeteria staff gets adequate respect from students.  Although there are a few kids who do not give the cafeteria staff the respect they deserve, Hicks thinks that high school students seem more mature, and most of them are very respectful.

On an average day in the cafeteria, you can see the long lines of kids waiting to get their food, which is prepared and cooked fresh daily, and many other kids already sitting down. Amina Akosa said, “For the most part, the cafeteria staff works really hard to make sure the lines move fast and kids get their food as soon as possible. Although I usually bring my lunch from home, occasionally I buy lunch here. The food is actually pretty good, especially this Chinese food I had one time.”