The Priory Lunch Program


Anthony Dixon, Writer

As with any working organization, there are those who put the interest of others first without recognition by many people. If we think back to the last movie we have seen, we can perhaps recall the actors, but we probably do not remember the names of the costume directors, makeup artists, or the camera crew. We know that without them, however, the film would not be possible. At Priory, there are certain individuals who we rarely see, but who are working their hardest to make the school a welcoming and productive environment for learning. My goal this year is to highlight the members of the Priory community who are perhaps not always in the spotlight but who are, nonetheless, an integral part of our daily lives.

One thing that Priory students have often taken for granted is our amazing lunch program. We walk up to the dining hall and expect food to be ready and waiting for us. Things are a bit different this year, to say the least. When we go down to lunch, we expect to have fresh, quality food, but have we ever thought about how much work it takes to make this possible? That is why I am beginning this year with an article to show our heartfelt gratitude to the entire kitchen staff.

Before we even set foot on campus each morning, people are hard at work preparing our midday meal. I was able to talk to Dzevada Grbic, a longtime member of the kitchen staff and Priory community, about the new lunch process. I was astounded by the amount of time and energy it takes to make our favorite part of the day an enjoyable time. With so many students to feed, it is no small task to create a safe and healthy environment for everyone to enjoy. Work begins with preparing each day’s lunch in the dining hall kitchen at 6 a.m. After the necessary preparations have been made, the lunches are then moved to heating bins until it is time to start taking them down to the gym.   

When it is almost time for lunch, the kitchen staff transports all of the meals down to the gym by cars or other maintenance vehicles. Ms. Grbic says that the hardest part of this entire process is ensuring that the food stays warm. Another challenge is making certain that every surface is sanitary. Between each of the three lunch periods, there are only five to ten minutes in which it is possible to sanitize all of the tables and chairs in the Multi-Purpose Gymnasium. Those assigned with this job, therefore, must act very quickly and systematically to ensure that each student has both a clean and dry spot at which to eat.

While students will not be able to have lunch in the dining hall for an unspecified amount of time, the kitchen staff says that, although the new program is at times difficult, they are rewarded with the smile of the students. They are glad to see us back at school and ask us to “please stay safe and follow health guidelines so that the school can stay open.” The next time we go down to lunch, remember that our food does not just appear in a box ready to eat. There are patient and hardworking individuals who work to make lunch a positive and enjoyable experience for everyone.