by Lisa Tome
Izzy Womack may have the best mother in the world.
Womack's mother makes Izzy, a fifth grader at Bay View Elementary, a hot lunch every morning. Izzy packs that into a thermos then adds treats like a homemade cinnamon bun, an orange, two juice boxes, and some wheat crackers. That's what Izzy then eats for lunch.
"Our mother doesn't let us use the stove. Sometimes I have macaroni and cheese or chicken. My mother makes it every morning," said Womack.
Womack brings her lunch from home and Piper Lewis opts to buy at school.
"I buy everyday. I like pizza day and I like the mashed potatoes," said Lewis, who is also a fifth grader. Last Wednesday, she was eating salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, water ice, and washing it down with strawberry milk.
Fourth grader Hailee LaFrancis ate her Slim Jim first last week. She had a juice box, water bottle, fruit snacks, Chex Mix, a brownie, cheese crackers, and a Nutella sandwich. "I buy lunch when it's something I like," said LaFrancis. She likes the school's pizza and chicken nuggets.
Whether children bring their lunch from home or buy at school, Sherry Ayers knows what they like. Ayers has worked in the Bay View cafeteria for 30 years. The students there like fresh fruit. "We try to get what kids like. They like strawberries, bananas, and watermelon," said Ayers. "Fresh fruit flies out of here." They don't like spinach but they gobble up both tater tots and french fries.
When it comes to main dishes, they like mozzarella sticks, stuffed crust pizza, and salisbury steak. Chicken nuggets are a perennial favorite. Nachos and tacos as well as General Tsos and tangerine chicken are also popular. On an average day, Bay View serves up between 270-290 lunches. Every student also gets free breakfast which they eat in the classroom.
Cecil County Public Schools has reached a 45 percent average of free and reduced meals. The number of free and reduced meals at Bay View is significantly higher at nearly 70 percent.
Ayers also said that kids have changed over the years. "They are more disrespectful. They are not afraid of us. There are no consequences anymore. Times have changed with kids, especially the last three years," she said.