Longtime Springdale Elementary School cafeteria employees work hard, have fun
It’s National School Lunch week
While many people are just waking up, Shirley Butler and Girley Rawl are hard at work just before 6 a.m. in the cafeteria at Springdale Elementary.
It’s the way they’ve started their weekdays for decades, preparing meals at Lexington Two schools.
With National School Lunch Week Oct. 9-13, much has changed in school food service since Butler and Rawl — among Lexington Two’s longest-serving cafeteria employees — first started work years ago.
“Everything was homemade then,” said Rawl, who has worked at Springdale nearly 30 years. That meant starting the day’s meal from scratch daily — foods like pie crusts, dinner rolls and chicken.
Back then, there was just one entree choice for students. Today, under the management of Sodexo, there are several good and healthy choices at the school’s Springdale Cafe. Among a few options on Wednesday’s lunch menu: chef salad, teriyaki chicken and rice, chicken Parmesan sandwich, and Strawberry Fields yogurt parfait.
Of course, “pizza and nachos are still favorites,” said Butler, who has worked for more than 20 years in various Lexington Two school cafeterias.
Springdale serves three meals a day — lunch for roughly 350-400, along with breakfast for about 165. Prepared meals are cooked and served at the school, with lunch service starting around 10:30 a.m. and breakfast around 7 a.m. There is a separate early dinner in the afternoon for those in an after-school
Rawl and Butler run such a smooth operation at Springdale that it’s one of the training centers for cafeteria workers in Lexington Two, which has nearly 90 such employees.
“If I could have handpicked them, I couldn’t have picked a better crew,” said Springdale supervisor Janet Helms. “They work hard, and they make my job so much easier.”
Rawl and Butler say it’s the relationships — with students, but also teachers and staff — that have kept them working at Springdale all these years.
“There’s no day when I get up when I don’t enjoy coming to work.”