Lunchtime is a favorite part of the day for many students, and the 45 women and men who comprise Food Services in Queensbury Union Free School District love serving the children who bring smiles to their faces every school day.
The job takes much more than you may think. Between preparing healthy food, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, food service workers have a lot on their plate.
Dixie Fish has become a familiar, friendly face to the students of Queensbury Elementary School. For the last nine years, Fish has worn a variety of hats in the school cafeteria – dishwasher, cashier and server – and now serves as the manager.
“You never know what your day is going to be like, which is a fun aspect of the job,” Fish said. “I have a great staff, a great boss, and I love seeing the little kids. Grades K-3 is such a fun age group.”
Fish’s day starts promptly at 7 a.m. with breakfast service for those students who arrive at school a little earlier. Lunch preparation immediately begins afterward, with the cafeteria’s version of rush hour taking place around 11:30 a.m. and lasting until early afternoon. It is then around 2 p.m. by the time the kitchen and cafeteria are clean, signaling the completion of the day.
“Our busiest days, and the days where see the largest number of students eating school lunch, are days when we serve chicken nuggets and pizza,” Fish said with a chuckle. “Chocolate milk is another popular item…can you blame them?”
The QES cafeteria staff, comprised of 10 workers, doesn’t just prepare food for the elementary school, they also cook for the students at William H. Barton Intermediate School. Because WHBI has a basic kitchen, the crew at QES will lend them a hand with big meals – such as pasta with meat sauce, garlic bread and veggies. The food is then delivered to WHBI for students to enjoy.
Every day, but especially on days when the QES crew needs to cook for WHBI, Fish says she’s reminded of why she enjoys working at QUFSD – the camaraderie.
“Everyone is really nice, really warm and we say hi to each other in the halls,” Fish said. “I really love my job.”