Fueling a student's body in the morning with a good breakfast and then keeping it going through the day with a nutritious lunch is the job of Clay Community School Corporation cafeteria personnel. Cafeteria personnel around the county are busy planning meals, placing orders and stocking shelves.
They will prepare and serve more than 5,000 breakfasts and lunches for students and staff during the upcoming school year. Research studies show an overwhelming link between good nutrition and learning. The bodies and brains of school age children are still developing, changing, and growing and good nutrition is vital to this process.
Van Buren Elementary Cafeteria Manager Beverly Taylor has enjoyed the daily contact with students her job has provided her for more than 22 years and has seen many changes in the likes and dislikes of students' food choices.
"It used to be that students wanted sandwiches for their lunch. Anything that they could pick up and eat was a favorite," Taylor said. She believes that the hectic lifestyles of today's families are making students taste buds lean more toward comfort food items. "Now, whenever chicken and noodles are on the menu, we know that almost everyone will want to eat lunch in the cafeteria. They love one-pot type of meals. Mashed potatoes are a real favorite here. It's an ever changing cycle trying to keep up with what the kids like to eat."
Cafeteria workers believe that providing nutritious meals that taste good at a minimal cost while helping students establish good eating habits, is a high priority.
"A large number of older children would eat more than the state requirements allow if we would let them. They are growing and hungry," Taylor said. "On the other hand, the younger students rarely eat the amount of food on their plates and a lot of food is wasted. The universal portion size required by the state is just too much for many younger students to eat. I encourage these students to bring their lunch from home so that they will have something that they enjoy eating."
Taylor, like many other area cafeteria workers, allow students to make choices when getting their lunch.
"Students can choose not to have something put on their plates, something they might not like, but I do encourage them to make healthy decisions and eat wisely," she said.
Eating nutritious food throughout the school day might not make students love math or English, but they will be mentally and physically ready for challenges in the classroom.
The Clay Community School Corporation announced that prices for students and staff purchasing breakfast and lunch at school will remain the same as last year.
Elementary Breakfast $1.00
Elementary Lunch $1.70
High School Breakfast $1.10
High School Lunch $1.80
Adult/Staff Breakfast $1.60
Adult/Staff Lunch $2.50
Information regarding the qualifications for the reduced or free lunch programs will be handed out to all students during the first week of school.
New Lunch System
Students attending Northview High School and Forest Park and Meridian Elementary schools will be using a new interactive cafeteria point-of-sale register system for management of their meal accounts instead of scanning their identification cards as in the past.
The system is an added security measure to ensure that the proper student is using the correct meal account and will speed up the waiting time in line.
Students will enter their own ID numbers into a keypad to match their accounts while making purchases of food items during breakfast and lunch and making deposits into their accounts. If the student does not match the ID picture in the system, they will not be able to use the account for purchases.
Northview students will not be allowed to have cash back from deposits. Students will also not be allowed to make account deposits during lunch service, with account deposits will only be accepted each morning between 7 to 8:30 a.m.