Feeding a Difference: Cafeteria Staff


Gordon Tuomikoski

The cafeteria staff from left to right: Chef Karen Latimer, Server Rhonda Nelson, Salad-bar Server Teresa Jensen, Kitchen Clerk Lorrie Karjala, and Food Service Manager Michelle Bennett.

Gordon Tuomikoski, Features and Photography Editor

With over 68 accumulated years of service, the high school cafeteria staff is always working behind the scenes to make sure every student has something to eat. From elementary to high school, many of the staff have seen students grow up and change over the years and grow into adults. As simple as it may be, the cafeteria staff has been crucial to giving students something to power their lives.

Server Rhonda Nelson has been at Glenwood for two years. She grew up in Wallace, Nebraska. Nelson attended McCook Community College. Her hobbies include reading, hiking and spending time with her grandson.

“My favorite things about working here are my co-workers and the students,” said Nelson.

Chef Karen Latimer has been at Glenwood for six years. She grew up in Malvern and graduated from Iowa Western Community College. Latimer enjoys reading, crocheting, camping, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s music as well as some country. She also enjoys spending time with her daughter, Senior Grace Latimer.

“I enjoy my coworkers and seeing people since I am a people person,” said Latimer. “All of us here in the kitchen are moms, and we want the best for these kiddos here in the high school.”

Salad-bar Server Teresa Jensen has worked at Glenwood for nine years. She grew up in Sioux City and went to East High school. Jenson loves spending time with her granddaughter Zelda.

“I love the gals that I work with, and that work is close to where I live,” said Jensen.

Assistant Manager Shirley Paulin has worked at Glenwood for 10 years. She went to Oakland High School (now called Riverside) and enjoys spending time with her kids and her significant other.

“My favorite thing about working here are my co-workers and seeing how much students change through the years,” said Paulin.

Kitchen Clerk Lorrie Karjala has worked at Glenwood for 15 years. Her father was in the military so she constantly changed schools but her last high school was in Leavenworth, Kansas. Karjala likes camping, reading, and using her new smartphone.

“I enjoy watching the students change as they grow into young adults,” said Karjala.

Food Service Manager Michelle Bennett has been at Glenwood for 26 years, longer than some of our teachers have been alive. She grew up in Council Bluffs, Pacific Junction and Omaha. Bennett enjoys reading and spending time with her husband, family and grandson. 

“I started at Northeast Elementary then transitioned to the high school so it was neat seeing the kids at Northeast and how they had grown into young adults by high school,” said Bennett. “I’ve been working here 26 years but it sure doesn’t feel like it.”

From a chicken patty to a walking taco, the cafeteria staff fuels students’ lives through their service at Glenwood, and students couldn’t do it without them.