The Bark

The Student News Site of Meadville Area Senior High School

The Bark

The Bark

What’s Cooking

Amy Bravine
(Left to right) Donnell, Rose, Linda, Kim, Debbie, Desire

You hear the constant whirring of the fan, heat creeping up on your back, and almost run into one of your coworkers on a sharp turn around a corner lookwhile you look at the hundreds of food items you must prepare in under a few hours. This is the average day of our cafeteria workers and each one has such a vital role in the kitchen.

Rose Valentine, Head Cook (Amy Bravine)

Ms. Valentine, the head cook at MASH, oversees making sure the kitchen runs smoothly in a day. The kitchen staff must see that around 15,000 meals are all prepared for each student of this school and the elementary, as stated by Ms. Valentine. With all of these meals and responsibilities, no one would blame them for not being upbeat, but they all find a way to be very kind and funny. When I interviewed the staff, they all made me feel as though we were close friends with some laughs between and during interviews. Their kindness is always apparent and always extended. Many had said during the interview that they enjoy the students they care for and the stories they share.


Lunch Staff Cutting Up Vegetables for the Day (Amy Bravine)

Sadly, not every student stops to share, many don’t say thank you. One of the kitchen staff even said she only hears thank you from two people. Once when I was waiting in the lunch line there were people using harsh tones and sharp behavior, not even saying a thank you or please. However, even with these types of attitudes, the kitchen staff always exude their fun and kind nature. So, if I have one piece of advice for you, it is to be patient and kind to the lunch staff because they are there to help us and feed us.

Lunch Staff Preparing Daily Pizza (Amy Bravine)

Furthermore, the food they give us during lunch is not the end of their kindness. The food they give us has been systematically shown to improve our grades and attitudes. It is a known fact that no one can act normally when they’re hangry, but there is solid evidence that the school lunch helps more than just our attitudes. Brookings.Edu’s article “How the Quality of School Lunch Affects Students’ Academic Performance” (by Michael L. Anderson, Justin Gallagher, and Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie) stated “We find that in years when a school contracts with a healthy lunch company, students at the school score better on end-of-year academic tests.” This article found that academic wellbeing can be uplifted by the nutritious meals they serve us.

Finally, if you’re ever stuck in the lunch line, curious on what item you should get, the lunch staff all agreed to choose either the pinwheels or the mashed potato bowls!


  • Information Citation: Anderson, Michael. Justin Gallagher. Elizabeth Ramirez Ritchie. “How the Quality of School Lunch Affects Students’ Academic Performance” Brookings.Edu, June 27, 2023.”
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