OLSBURG, Kan. (KSNT) – What started as a way to fill time while her son was in kindergarten, has now turned into a 30-year career.
Denise Webster is the head cook at an elementary school in Olsburg, Kansas.
Every morning and afternoon, Webster is in the school kitchen preparing meals for the kids at McCormick Elementary School. She’s worked in the same space for 30 years. Fun fact, she actually went to the same elementary school as a child. But when she was a kid, it didn’t cross her mind she was going to work here. It was her son starting kindergarten there, and a newspaper ad, that inspired the job choice.
“So I asked my mom and dad,” Webster said. “I said, ‘There is a job opening at the school in the kitchen. Would you mind if you guys would like to take care of him for just a little bit in the afternoon for like a couple of hours?’ And they said yes.”
Webster’s kids are now long gone from being students at the elementary school. Thirty years ago, she could’ve moved on to another job. But it’s serving the little ones each year that keeps her coming back.
“I love their little stories they tell me when they come through with breakfast,” she said. “And all the little hugs I get. But they are so awesome, those children. They’re the most important thing in my life, just making sure they have what they want out there.”
Webster is a “busybody.” She has to be up and going, even when she gets the time off. Over the summer, when school is out and in her free time, she’s doing the same thing but at a local nursing home.
“You know what it is? It’s the need to take care of people I have this need to take care of people,” she said.
For 30 years, generations of kids have come through Webster’s lunch line, sharing stories, getting advice from her and even seconds of what she cooked for the day. She doesn’t look it at as just another job. Every day is a chance to show love and appreciation to the kids through food.
Webster shared another fun fact. She started when her kids attended McCormick, and now she’s had three of her own grandkids come through the line. Since working there, she has served the kids of students she went to school with, then their kids and so on.
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