More than a “lunch lady,” Stacy Chavez is a nutritional services senior assistant, and has been working at Glendora High School for eight years. Chavez initially wanted to become a teacher but changed direction and began working in the food industry and gained many years of restaurant experience instead. When her kids became older she decided to combine her love of food with her restaurant experience and started to work in the cafeteria so she could also be close to her kids.
Chavez is always trying to add to the welcoming environment at GHS and plays an important part in making the students feel comfortable getting food.
She explains that, “Food insecurity is not really talked about and students have a lot of outside options and resources when thinking about their meals… I like to try and create a friendly environment where students are comfortable coming in and grabbing a meal.”
One major stereotype about lunch ladies is that they don’t actually like kids. Many movies and TV shows depict grumpy ladies who are rude and slap a spoonful of something completely inedible on the characters' food trays. On the contrary, Chavez loves the students at GHS. She says the most rewarding part of her job is to be able to talk to the students and brighten up their day with a good meal.
One unfortunate aspect of her work life is that she has to work two jobs to support her four children and pursue her second master’s degree.
She explains that although it is difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance, “I try and give my best to all areas of my life and also have to remember to take some time out and regroup to maintain that balance.”
She likes to unwind by going to Bonelli Lake to be able to better take care of all her responsibilities.
Chavez is working towards a master’s degree in school counseling and hopes to be a high school counselor in the future. She wants to be able to continue to work with students and contribute to their future success.