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The Corydon

The Corydon

The Student News Site of Millikan High

The Corydon

Have Respect For Our Cafeteria Workforce

Ian Henriquez
Photo of kitchenware inside the Millikan Cafetria

Everyday, when the clock strikes 11:59 a.m., students excitedly rush outside for their lunch period for a much needed break from scheduled classes. Most students grab their lunch, unaware of how the food makes it from the kitchen to the student. My goal is to uplift our cafeteria ladies and attribute to the most hardworking group of women I know.

Starting as early as six a.m., while most are just opening their eyes from slumber, the head of the Millikan Cafeteria, Allyson Garcia, is wide awake preparing a schedule for the day. 

From a broad point of view, it seems Garcia is only responsible for cooking, serving, and repeating this routine daily, but there is so much more Garcia has on her tray. She starts her day by sanitizing, preparing delivery reports, programming the cash

Photo of cash register of Millikan Cafeteria (Ian Henriquez)

registers, and turning on the cooking equipment. 

The Long Beach Unified School District trucks that make a daily appearance on the Millikan campus carry the ingredients to supply the cafeteria. Everything that consists of these restocks is individually ordered and planned by Garcia. “Preparing the delivery reports helps us know what inventory is coming in on that day,” Garcia said.

Seven a.m. rolls around and the rest of the team begins to enter the kitchen. Everyone has a fundamental role at the cafeteria with each in charge of their own tasks such as washing dishes, organizing inventory, and preparing and cooking food. 

I work daily in the cafeteria, so I can testify that preparation is fundamental when it comes to the well being of the cafeteria. 

“We’re here today, cooking, but at the same time, we are preparing everything and getting it ready to be able to come tomorrow and have it cooked in a timely manner. We’re cooking today’s food, and preparing tomorrow’s [meal],” Garcia says. They spend hours in the kitchen on their feet, because there is always something to get done. With the help of additional student workers, teamwork is essential for the success of the cafeteria. 

When the Long Beach Unified School District returned to school after COVID-19, they made cafeteria meals free for all students. I believe this is amazing, providing nutrition to those who may be deprived of essential nutrients outside of school. With meals now being free of charge, more students are taking advantage of the services the cafeteria offers.

With the heavier load of students, Garcia reports that ignorance shown towards the cafeteria team also grew. 

Garcia added, “There’s no supervision, everyone is shorthanded, there’s no one able to keep the lines situated and I feel really bad because I know it’s the same students that get cut in line.” 

It is not about an extremely precise single file line because of course, students will prefer to stand in their friend groups, but a cafeteria line should not be representative of a competitive atmosphere. Campus supervisors could combat the issue by residing in areas near the cafeteria serving stations to keep the line functional.

The problem is created when students are purposely plunging themselves to the start of the line, it’s unfair to those properly queuing in line. “We’ve tried different things like the chain extensions in the quad, everyday there is always a student behavior complaint from our ladies,” Garcia said. 

I can acknowledge that 30 minutes is a time crunch to accomplish all side quests during lunch while also taking time to properly fuel yourself, but it is also on our students to be cooperative and follow directions by our cafeteria ladies when given.

Working at the cafeteria, I have a front-row seat to witness the hard work that the cafeteria crew puts into the food served daily at Millikan High School. It is difficult to see the same crew receive such disregard from those they serve.

Photo of the interior of Millikan Cafeteria (Ian Henriquez)

With that said, I can only ask that you treat those the way you would like to be treated. Going forward, I hope learning the characteristics of the Millikan High School cafeteria can develop a much deserved respect for our cafeteria ladies.

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About the Contributor
Ian Henriquez
Ian Henriquez, Staff Reporter
Hey! My name is Ian Henriquez (He/Him) and I am a junior in Compass. I am eager to begin my first year in journalism. To get to know me more,  here are some fun facts about me: I own over 200 vinyl records, my big three zodiac signs are all earth signs (Taurus Sun, Virgo Rising, Capricorn Moon), and I love Keroppi from sanrio.

Comments (8)

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  • S

    Samantha A.Apr 12, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    In the article, the author details all the hard work and labor put in by the cafeteria workers that often goes unnoticed. There is much preparation involved when serving such a large amount of students, and it is both time consuming and tiring. The author notes how he assists in the cafeteria, so he’s seen firsthand all the work the cafeteria workers put into their job.
    The article also discusses how after COVID-19 students are able to receive their lunch for free. However, with this there has also been a larger number of rude or disrespectful students. This is unfortunate as the cafeteria workers put in so much effort to prepare our lunches, only for the students they’re helping to bring them down. This article was very enlightening and will hopefully remind people to be kind, patient, and respectful. The cafeteria workers are kind to us so we should be kind in return.

  • E

    Eliana TesfayeApr 11, 2024 at 1:48 pm

    This article provides the Millikan student body with a new perspective that enlightens students about the hard work of cafeteria workers. Henriquez’s description of the kitchen staff’s daily routine ranging from preparing the delivery reports to preparing the food provides evidence towards his claim about the hard work of the cafeteria workforce. The quotes from the head of the Millikan Cafeteria, Allyson Garica, implement a hands-on perspective for readers. I had never really thought about the work life of cafeteria workers when getting food, and Henriquez’s article made me realize how ignorant I was to the hard work that was being put into the food I was eating.
    My personal favorite feature of Henqriquez’s well-written article lies at the very beginning. Henriquez says, “Starting as early as six a.m., while most are just opening their eyes from slumber, the head of the Millikan Cafeteria, Allyson Garcia, is wide awake preparing a schedule for the day”. This comparison truly demonstrates the hard work of cafeteria workers by comparing the wake up time of students/other Millikan admin versus the wake up time of the cafeteria staff. After reading Henriquez’s article, I now have a large amount of respect for the cafeteria staff.

  • S

    Sofia UribeApr 11, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    The article sheds light on the hardworking cafeterias workers that work to feed the thousands of students here at this school. Generally, many students just wait in line, pick up their lunches for the day, and walk away, neglecting to realize the effort that the cafeteria ladies put in to make it all possible. This makes this article all the more significant. It is important to give the cafeteria ladies the recognition they deserve.
    The cafeteria ladies feed our student body every day; we can try to repay them by not cutting others in the lunch line so we don’t make their jobs even more difficult. The lunch period is only 30 minutes long, making lunch hectic for everybody, yet we should all still make an effort to have empathy for the lunch ladies and the other students waiting in line for lunch. I’m sure that this article will have a positive effect on our school community and on our appreciation for the behind-the-scenes work making it all happen.

  • A

    Arianna GarciaApr 11, 2024 at 1:02 pm

    On April 11, 2024, Ian Henriquez wrote an article titled “Have Respect For Our Cafeteria Workforce.” This article was an editorial that explained the tasks of the cafeteria workers that not many people knew about with great detail and imagery. He praised their hard work and made it a point that they should be respected. This article was extremely commendable and it is amazing to see a student sticking up for some of our underappreciated staff. As a student myself, I see the chaos that students cause every lunch period and I choose to ignore it and stay away from it while these workers are unable to do just this. He did a great job at sprinkling his opinion throughout as well as providing a lot of key information that made his claim stronger. He also included quotes from Ms. Garcia, the head of the cafeteria which I felt was a very credible source. One addition that would make this story even more convincing would be student opinion or thoughts on what they see themselves as students on campus. Overall, I felt this article was very significant and a great issue to bring to light.

  • L

    Liam NeubauerApr 11, 2024 at 10:54 am

    maybe we need a surveillance system in the cafeteria?

  • C

    Caroline GassApr 11, 2024 at 9:34 am

    In this informative article we learn the behind the scenes to the cafeteria workers at Millikan. Turns out they have to be here earlier than us to prepare the lunch and breakfast we eat on our campus (6am). Not a lot of people give thought to the work these ladies do and Henriquez implies that in the article. He praises them and gives them all the recognition they deserve. The article also includes reliable information from the head of the Millikan Cafeteria, Allyson Garcia. At the end we find out Henriquez works in the cafeteria which makes the article more reliable because he can provide an inside view of the workplace. Overall, the article was organized very well with evidence from workers, photos of the workplace, and an inside note from the writer. I am glad I read this article and was able to find out more of what the cafeteria workers at Millikan do.

  • T

    Tere QuezadaApr 11, 2024 at 9:29 am

    On April 10, 2024, Staff Reporter, Ian Henriquez wrote the article “Have Respect For Our Cafeteria Workforce.” In this editorial piece, Henriquez investigates the reality behind the hands in the kitchen of Millikan’s cafeteria.
    He introduces Allyson Garcia, the head of our school’s cafeteria. He walks the readers through her routine that begins at six in the morning each and everyday. Henriquez does an amazing job taking us though the scene and utilizes great detail to truly paint a picture for the audience. He shares that their tasks go beyond the cooking and serving, giving them an immense amount of praise.
    Henriquez testifies to the harsh realities of the kitchen as he personally works in the cafeteria each and every day. He shares that the organization and preparation the staff put in each and everyday is necessary for the smooth running of cafeteria operations. He also dives into the hardships we as students create for the staff, the cutting of line not only is unfair but it creates a hectic environment. The cafeteria staff often then need to take charge of the lines and are hit with a wave of disrespect from the students.
    Henriquez does a great job at acknowledging that our lunch period is very short but reiterates that there is no excuse to disrespect the staff who work extremely hard to provide us with hot meals twice a day.

    Tere Quezada

  • J

    James McCullaghApr 10, 2024 at 1:17 pm

    Dear Corydon Editor,

    On April 10, 2024, Ian Henriquez wrote an article titled “Have Respect For Our Cafeteria Workforce”. I like this article because I am one of the people who are in the cafeteria daily. I love that I am able to get free fruit everyday. Although I may not like much of the other food they offer, most of the time the fruit is great. It is interesting to hear all the work that the staff has to go through to prepare everything for the students. I always thought that the food was all quick and was prepared right before lunch. I didn’t know they all had to start working on the food at 6 am. I wonder where the pizza that they give out at lunch is coming from. I always see the lunch staff coming in with a cart of pizzas for the day of lunch. The pizza is not the best, but it’s cool to know there will always be pizza if I’m ever too hungry. The pizza they give out at lunch is way better than the pizza we used to get in the cafeteria.


    James McCullagh