Behind the Scenes: Lunch Ladies Strive to Serve at BYMS

From left to right: Rini Oliai, Linda Orr

From left to right: Rini Oliai, Linda Orr

When the bell rings at 1:05 at BYMS, signaling the start of lunch, a roar can be heard of students pushing through campus doors and dashing all towards one destination – the lunch lines and the ladies who are prepared to serve hungry students with nutritious foods, friendly greetings, and stay calm amid the controlled chaos.

Betty Gonzalez, Rini Oliai, and Linda Orr, otherwise known as the “BYMS Lunch Ladies,” prep and dispense meals for break and lunch, spending hours behind the scenes ordering, sorting, heating, arranging, tracking, making changes, and most importantly greeting their student customers with smiles and patience.

Students and staff alike appreciate Mrs. Orr and Mrs. Oliai feeding students and staff three times a day. 8th-grade student Kennady Dobrea stated, in an interview with the Matador Messenger, “I love how the lunch ladies always make sure to greet you by saying ‘Good morning!’ or ‘Good afternoon!’ I also appreciate how they say ‘Have a nice break!’ or ‘Have a nice weekend!’ or ‘Enjoy your lunch!’ These words add positivity to my break and encourage me to engage with others as well. Thank you for all that you do for our school, it makes an impact!

Rini Oliai, the BYMS Nutrition Service Worker, previously worked at Yorba Linda High School as a Nutrition Service Worker. Mrs. Oliai mentioned in an interview with the Matador Messenger that she wishes the students can have their ID ready so they can pass out breakfast and lunch faster.“Due to the short duration of providing the meals and to be more efficient, it would be helpful for students to be ready and have their IDs available and also have patience when the system such as computers are down or slow,” she says.

When asked about the advantages and disadvantages of the profession, she said that one advantage is, “working and interacting with students.” But as for disadvantages, she said that she “can’t think of any!”

Outside of school, Mrs. Oliai enjoys “gardening, spending time with family and friends, and cooking,” she mentioned. As for a quote that helps to guide her life, she stated, “Every profession can make a difference in people’s life.”

Another 8th-grade student Shaurya Nangare mentioned “ …Our lunch ladies work hard to encourage students to take – and EAT – healthier options. They are also greeting, kind, and loving towards our school.”

Lunch lady Linda Orr, BYMS Production Kitchen Lead, came to Bernardo with experience in the district. “Before coming to Bernardo, I worked at several other schools in PYLUSD. I’ve been a lunch lady for 16 years.” Mrs. Orr said in an interview with the Matador Messenger, “The biggest advantage to my job is of course having weekends, holidays, and summers off!!” Mrs. Orr’s advice to students is to be kind to everyone, and never quit, or as she likes to say, “never tap out.” Mrs. Orr’s advice to students is to be kind to everyone, and never quit, or as she likes to say, “never tap out.” 

Monica Perez, the noon supervisor said that the lunch ladies are “accurate” with what they do. “They try to accommodate all the kids… If they need help, I’m usually in there. So sometimes they don’t know the students’ names…I’ll go up there and go help them and whatever, but they’re pretty good, they are really good…” Monica mentioned this in an interview with the Matador Messenger.

Mrs. Fisher says, “We love our lunch ladies, Linda and Rini!  We are so grateful for their patience, kindness, and for how they try to ensure the line gets processed quickly!”