May 30, 2023 -- When someone walks by the kitchen at Wedgewood Middle School, the first thing they notice is that it isn’t quiet. There’s the beeping of oven timers, the sound of students going down the line to get their meals, and, at very regular intervals, laughter from the food services team.
“We are a fun kitchen,” said food service manager Alice Pugh. “We have a really great group.”
The team’s camaraderie doesn’t stop in the kitchen. Brandon Turner, Wedgewood’s cook, said the food services staff like to encourage the fun culture in the kitchen to spill over into the lunchroom.
Turner said they like to set an example for the students and show them they can have fun at school.
“If the students see that you’re happy and that you’re in a good mood, it puts them in a good mood. It makes them feel comfortable,” Turner explained.
Bringing a positive attitude to the kitchen is just one way the team contributes to a strong culture at the school. Wedgewood Principal William Doermann said they often go beyond the traditional scope of their work to make the cafeteria a welcoming place for students and staff.
“If a student misses their lunch or breakfast, they go the extra mile to make sure the student is fed,” Doermann explained. “Sometimes, they can be seen talking to students – giving advice, a friendly smile, or telling a joke.”
Pugh said they want to make sure Wedgewood students feel valued. The team wants the students to know they can come to the food services team if they need to talk about anything.
“They talk to us. They may be having a bad time outside of school, and we may be the only people they talk to about it. We’re here for a lot more than just feeding the students,” she said.
Doermann said the team is an incredible asset to the Wedgewood staff and students.
“They are dedicated, dependable, flexible, caring, friendly, supportive, and student-centered,” Doermann explained. “Simply put, they are a friendly staff who work extremely hard and are dedicated to the students and the school.”