Cafeteria staff at the Carbondale Elementary School recently treated students to a special Fairy Tale Day lunch as part of an ongoing effort to make lunch a more fun experience for the students. The school district’s food service director, Katie Wallis, said the event was intended as “just a fun day for the students to feel special at lunch and enjoy their lunch period.”

The theme, Fairy Tale Day, was reflected in prince/princess decorations throughout the cafeteria, cafeteria staff and student volunteers from the Carbondale Area Jr/Sr High School dressed in costumes, and paper crowns provided to the elementary students to decorate.

This was the first time the cafeteria had hosted this particular event, but Ms. Wallis explained that different events have been held in both the high school and the elementary school, including holiday dinners, Superhero Day, Ballpark Days, and a cookout.

The menu for the day’s lunches included the dishes the students enjoy the most from the school’s regular menu offerings. “I like to always serve the students favorite foods.  On this day we will be having Princess Pepperoni Pizza, Pineapple fit for a Prince, Royal Broccoli, and our alternate is King’s Chicken Patty on a bun,” explained Ms. Wallis as she prepared for the event.

She added, “Chicken patties and pizza are two of our students’ favorite menu items, and it is school lunch, so everything is made with whole grains and low fat dairy products. All students, whether they buy lunch or not, will be receiving a piece of cake as well.”

High school students Alyssa Quinn, Kevin Bebla, Emily Gerek, and Brad Brennan volunteered to help at the Fairy Tale Day lunch. Dressed in appropriately-themed costumes, the volunteers passed out paper crowns to the elementary students. The four volunteers enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the district’s younger children.

“I volunteered because I like working with the children. This is fun, and it puts a big smile on their faces, and that’s a great thing. They’re happy and it makes me happy,” Alyssa explained as she prepared to help welcome the 1st and 2nd graders to the cafeteria.

Ms. Wallis had additional help from other food service directors from The Nutrition Group, the firm that manages the district’s cafeterias. “The cafeteria is managed by The Nutrition Group, and a couple of food service directors from other schools will be assisting me today.  We have a tight corporate community and are always helping each other with these events.  It is so wonderful!” said Ms. Wallis.

Ms. Wallis and her staff are committed not only to providing delicious, nutritious food to the students in a spotless and cheerful setting, they also strive to create an environment which rejuvenates students for their afternoon classes.

“There is a lot of fun in the cafeteria.  School lunch is some of the students’ favorite time. They get to relax and take a small break during the busy school day.  The cafeteria employees try to make this time the best it can be for them.  They start early in the morning preparing the amount of food they need to serve and are excited for events that highlight how important eating right is and the benefits of buying lunch at school,” offered Ms. Wallis.

Mrs. Amy Laguzzi, a 2nd grade teacher at the school, is appreciative of the efforts made by the cafeteria staff on behalf of her students. “They’re kind, caring, loving, and take care of all of our children every day, meeting all of their needs. They’re wonderful!” remarked Mrs. Laguzzi as she watched her students happily eating their lunches with their Fairy Tale Day crowns perched cheerily on their heads.