Lunch Ladies: More Than Just An Extra Scoop!

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JAN. 9, 2014. There are a lot of people to thank for keeping schools up and running.There are principals, teachers, security guards and last but not least…lunch ladies. This might be shocking information but lunch ladies are a needed part of the school because they are not really seen in a positive way. Contrary to the popular belief, lunch ladies significantly contribute to schools by making and serving lunch. Yet, they almost never get any recognition for what they do.

People don’t give lunch ladies a lot of recognition because they’re not seen in a positive way—mostly because of stereotypes. Almost all the stereotypes about lunch ladies are bad. According to, most people think that your average lunch lady is fat, has a mole on her face, is mad at the world and is uncaring about what they slap on children’s plates. These stereotypes are not entirely true because stereotypes are almost never accurate. For example, do all Black people like fried chicken? Or do all Chinese people eat rice? Based on the fact that stereotypes are wrong, what is an actual lunch lady?

By definition, a lunch lady is a woman who cooks and serves food in a school cafeteria. Everyone who has attended public schools in America has had an encounter with lunch due to The National Lunch Act which stated that all schools are bound by law to serve students lunch for their health. As a result of this act, students get lunch everyday see their lunch lady more than they see school administrators who supposedly have the more important job.

Lunch ladies are the most underrated workers in a school. For instance when do students ever thank their lunch lady or better yet, talk to them outside of telling them what they want or trying to hustle some extra food. One of the main reasons lunch ladies get ignored, is because TV portrays lunch ladies in a bad way. Almost every cartoon or sitcom portrays lunch ladies as bad. A Disney Channel show called “Recess” has a lunch lady named Irma who is dirty, has a deep male voice, and doesn’t care about what she serves the students or the students in general. Many more programs put out negative views about lunch ladies. Other than TV shows, there are movies, commercials, and short films such as “The Demon Dinner Lady”.

So lunch ladies are depicted as mean and evil. But this is not true at all. I proved that lunch ladies are the complete opposite by interviewing an actual lunch lady, Carol Bolton. Carol Bolton a lunch lady of eight years and current lunch lady at Anacostia Senior High School says she loves serving the students everyday. When asked how she contributes to schools lunch, she said “she puts love in it”. Ms. Bolton also feels that she is changing students’ lives by caring for them and providing for their needs. Turns out lunch ladies do care about students. So they should get better treatment from students and administration.

To appreciate lunch ladies, I believe students can get together and have a special day for lunch ladies. On this day instead of lunch ladies serving the students, the students should serve the lunch ladies. Students could also just give the lunch lady a simple “thank you” for serving them food so they can feel more wanted in the schools.

All in all, lunch ladies are an important part of the schools staff and care about students. It’s really a shame how lunch ladies are talked bad about and ignored. It needs to change. As a matter of fact, on teacher appreciation day students need to thank teachers and lunch ladies because they teach students important lessons. That’s a three in one lesson because it enhances your skills in health, survival, and common sense. So with lunch ladies you get two for the price of one—because they teach and serve. In reality lunch ladies aren’t bad at all. So the very next time students talk to a lunch lady, hopefully it will be for more than an extra scoop.  

Briana Walker is a junior journalist at Anacostia Senior High School.