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Conley becomes new cafeteria manager, utilizes past experiences

New+cafeteria+manager+Julie+Conley+works+behind+the+line+during+second+breakfast.+Conley+has+worked+at+other+school+cafeterias+as+an+assistant+or+manager%2C+giving+her+a+head-start+experience+at+management+in+the+Streaks+Cafe.+
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Conley becomes new cafeteria manager, utilizes past experiences

New cafeteria manager Julie Conley works behind the line during second breakfast. Conley has worked at other school cafeterias as an assistant or manager, giving her a head-start experience at management in the Streaks Cafe.

New cafeteria manager Julie Conley works behind the line during second breakfast. Conley has worked at other school cafeterias as an assistant or manager, giving her a head-start experience at management in the Streaks Cafe.

Nyah Phengsitthy

New cafeteria manager Julie Conley works behind the line during second breakfast. Conley has worked at other school cafeterias as an assistant or manager, giving her a head-start experience at management in the Streaks Cafe.

Nyah Phengsitthy

Nyah Phengsitthy

New cafeteria manager Julie Conley works behind the line during second breakfast. Conley has worked at other school cafeterias as an assistant or manager, giving her a head-start experience at management in the Streaks Cafe.

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Once the clock strikes 10:59 a.m. on a regular day schedule, first lunch begins. From then until 1:00 p.m., three other lunches are served to a student body of 1900. With four lunches and two breakfast sessions served five days a week, it’s safe to say that there is not much of a break for the ladies who cook up the meals for the schools.

The routine runs like clockwork with few bumps, but this second semester, the cafeteria staff experienced a drastic change: a new lunch manager. Growing up in Broadway, new cafeteria manager Julie Conley began working around food when she landed a job at a family owned restaurant. From then on, Conley continued to work within food services and became an assistant at J. Frank Hillyard Middle School’s cafeteria. Conley later became the manager of the cafeteria in 2009.

Continuing in food services in the next town over, Conley started working at HHS in 2013 as an assistant in the Streaks Cafe.

“I love food. I’ve always been intrigued in working in the kitchen when I was younger, like helping my mom cook, so I’ve just always been into working with food,” Conley said.

Conley stepped away from the Streaks Cafe in 2018 when Bluestone Elementary School had just opened and was looking for a cafeteria manager. With her past management experience, Conley decided this would be a role she could take on.

In November 2018, previous cafeteria manager Tricia Newcomb announced her retirement, ending her 19 years of service for the school. With the announcement of a new opening for a manager position at HHS, Conley, once again, decided to take on another role, bringing her back to the Streaks.

“For me, [Bluestone] was simple because I’ve done it for so long. For someone else, it could have been harder,” Conley said. “[HHS is] a lot busier than what I’m used to… I think with my experience, this is a big job and I felt confident enough that I could do this.”

In charge of the grill options for lunch, lunch lady Heidi Green has been working in the cafeteria since 2011. Being familiar with Newcomb’s ways in the kitchen, Green hopes that anything that is changed in the kitchen should be good for the school.

“[I hope] that she keeps up with what has been established already with Tricia… I think the kids are used to that aspect, the food and everything. [They’re used to] the million and one choices for breakfast that they have the six different [lunch] lines they have now,” Green said.

Working in a bigger school has given Conley a bigger list of responsibilities. As of now, she is still getting used to her everyday tasks that require much attention.

“We have several different orders that we place from several different companies, so I just have to make sure [orders are placed]. Every day you have a different order that is required to go in, so I have to make sure I meet those deadlines,” Conley said.

Aside from placing food orders, Conley helps the other lunch ladies throughout the day, whether it be with counting milk and other foods, placing orders or being a floater behind the lunch line. While it isn’t her first time working in this environment, Conley is still getting used to the idea of being the manager with hopes of bringing in new ideas within the near future.

“There are a few things [I would like to change],” Conley said. “It’s one of those things where it comes out like ‘oh, I might need to change that.’ I don’t have anything specific where I need to do it right away, but there are going to be changes coming eventually.”

While Conley is filling in a position that was once held by a person for 19 years, Green believes that getting a new manager will give the lunch ladies something new to look forward to.

“She’s definitely not Tricia [Newcomb] by any means, but with each new manager comes new expectations and different things,” Green said. “[There are] new ways of doing things. So far, [she’s] been good.”

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