A Look Behind the Counter

A Look Behind the Counter

Victoria Ly, Assistant Feature Editor

It’s lunchtime. You rush over to the nearest window and scramble to be first in line. When your meal is within arms reach, you bid your “good-byes” and “thank-you’s,” and once the exchange is done, you leave the premise. It’s the same routine everyday, but have you ever stopped to wonder who is behind the window? Who prepares your lunches and embraces you with warm smiles day by day?

Apart from the familiar-faced teachers and the conventional guidance counselors, there are so many other staff members on campus who we as students rarely get to speak to. While purchasing your lunch you might be greeted by Martha Lopez, who manages the vegetarian lunch line at DBHS.

Every morning, Lopez arrives on campus to a set of already prepared meals. Before her shift begins at noon, she brings out the orange juice and the milk and sets up her window to get ready to sell.

“I love the kids and the rush during lunchtime,” Lopez said. “I have a lot of the same customers, and I already know their names before they punch in their numbers. That’s what makes it fun.”

Lopez has been apart of the Brahma staff for about four years. Because her daughter attends school within the Walnut School District, Lopez applied for the job at DBHS in order to pass time and insure minimal travel between the school district and her home in Azusa. “I started at some of the smaller schools and I ended up here,” Lopez said “I love this school and won’t go anywhere else.”

The most difficult aspect of her job is managing her time efficiently. “Once you get behind for that first 10 minutes, it’s hard to catch back up,” Lopez said. “Everything is very precise, and you only have a certain amount of time to get things done.”

Meals and menu plans are selected through the superintendent and arrive on campus frozen. Every morning a handful of staff members start their shift at 6:00 am, cutting cucumbers and preparing salads by hand. Brahma staff members prepare meals for not only DBHS, but also for nearby elementary schools.

Despite the hustle-and-bustle of lunchtime, Lopez is always making an effort to pay attention to her customers.

“I do notice when a kid gets a haircut or when a girl decides to shave one side of her head,” Lopez said. “It’s nice just seeing the different styles and trends students take on.”

As a lunch staff member, Lopez is always interested in her customer’s opinion. “I love it when we get something new like pomegranate tea, because then I can ask the kids ‘Do you like it?’ and they are always very honest with their answers,” Lopez said. After gathering constructive feedback, she reports back to her other staff members. “Getting that honesty from them, especially when we have new items, that’s always good.”

When Lopez isn’t diligently serving food to Brahmas, she spends time with her co-workers, sometimes even getting together for a potluck party on special holidays. To commemorate the end of the school year, the staff gathers at a restaurant.
“I really like the atmosphere; we all get along very well,” Lopez said.

Outside of her job in DBHS, Lopez directs her daughter’s Ballet Folklórico dance group.

“The dance is all about zapatating the feet with passion,” Lopez said.

She helps with scheduling gigs and making costumes for the girls. When Lopez finds spare time during work, she’s either braiding costumes or making jewelry. Their group, called Zapateando Con Pasion has danced for weddings, Quinceañeras, Sweet 16 celebrations, and even grand openings for restaurants.

Martha Lopez, one of the many dedicated staff members on campus strives to meet the needs of students every day. Eager to improve upon lunches, Lopez is open to students’ opinions and is always willing to accommodate to their suggestions.