BVH offers jobs to students 16 and older


Angelina Ruckman

Kassidy Wakefield inputs her lunch pin to receive food from the cafeteria. Wakefield applied for the cafeteria job and is waiting for confirmation to see if she will get hired.

José Solís and Stephanie Lomeli

Coming back from fall break, Bonita Vista High (BVH) and the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) devised a plan to employ students and pay them 15 dollars for their one hour of work in the cafeteria. Due to the federal guidelines being changed at BVH, all students can get free lunch and snacks during their breaks, which led to a growing number of individuals taking part in BVH’s school lunch program.

“All students, regardless of income, [are] eligible for free snacks and free lunch. That led to an increase in participation in the school lunch program, and subsequently, an increase in the lines. With a shortage [of workers] felt around, not just here, but the whole country, we [had to] have an easy solution to make the lines a little shorter and move a little faster,” BVH Principal Roman Del Rosario, Ed.D. said.

The necessity for more cafeteria staff became apparent as wait times grew longer and lines extended beyond the lunch tables. A new solution was necessary, and hiring students to work in the cafeteria would be a possible solution that SUHSD Director for District Nutrition Services Eric Span proposed.

“There are over 2,000 students [in BVH], and normally, [there is] a very low [number of students qualified for] free-and-reduced lunch, [so BVH had] six to seven employees there. In the past, when we were only feeding a small number of students, it made sense. Now that all students are able to eat for free, we need to expand our outreach and access to food because [students] only get 30 minutes to eat and we have schools like [BVH who have] more students coming to the cafeteria to eat now [than] before,” Span said.

The email advertising job opportunities was sent and students began to complete their applications; within five days, multiple applications were sent. Despite the application’s age restriction of 16 and older, the program aimed to hire as many students as possible, according to Span.

“It’s an opportunity for a student to earn a little extra money. I know that when I was in high school, I would have jumped onto such an opportunity of having a little extra change in my pocket,” Del Rosario said. 

BVH students are supportive of the job opportunities being given to students, some students being especially glad for the impact it will have during lunch. 

“There are four windows during lunch but, there are only two [windows] that are being worked through, [so] I think [having students work in the cafeteria] would help,” junior Kristian Gutierrez said.

According to Del Rosario, the employment of students “builds character” and can “establish a work ethic”. The lessons they learn will then allow them to grow and contribute to their community.

“I have worked in the restaurant food service industry from 17 years old to now. My first job was in a restaurant and I think being associated with food, around food and how it’s made and served gives a good opportunity for students to really get integrated into school food. I’ve done this in multiple districts that I’ve worked at [and] when another student comes to the cafeteria to eat and grab a meal [and] they see a student that they know is working there, serving that meal—it helps to make them feel a little more comfortable,” Span said. “I think it’s all really about making students like yourself [comfortable] to want to come into the cafeterias.