Behind the Smile


Mrs. Champion

Gracy Padgett

Armuchee High School is a close-knit community, but some need more recognition than others. Armuchee wouldn’t function properly without the lunch ladies. Emily Tomlin, AHS Junior, said, “The lunch ladies are the kindest, sweetest people you will ever meet.” The lunch ladies love their job, their kids, and their school. Without them, we would be lacking emotionally and physically.

The AHS lunch ladies are Patricia Clay, Karen Champion, and Angie Cochran. Patricia Clay has been at Armuchee for over four years now. Karen Champion is the lunch staff’s manager and has been at Armuchee for four years as well. Angie Cochran is a part-time lunch lady; this is her first year at Armuchee High. Although they have different positions and levels of responsibility, they all love Armuchee. The pandemic has made their jobs more difficult because they must package and organize the food more precisely so students may eat in their classrooms and social-distance.

Patricia Clay pursued being a lunch lady because of her love of kids. She enjoys her job and finds it rewarding because she gets to see all the AHS kids and watch them as they grow up. Patricia said, “I like having summers off.” Although she loves her job, she doesn’t enjoy the cleanup as much as other aspects of her job. Patricia Clay is a kind woman who embraces her job as a lunch lady and has used her profession to create strong bonds with her coworkers and the students at Armuchee. Patricia describes the experience of being a lunch lady as, “watching these children go through 9th grade to graduating, some I even kept in daycare.” Patricia became a lunch lady through an employment agency. She said, “if you’re lucky you get hired.” Patricia plans on keeping her job as a lunch lady for a couple more years because she loves her children. She decided to become a lunch lady because she enjoys being with the kids at Armuchee. Patricia’s relationship with the lunchroom staff is strong because they have to work as a team.

Armuchee students cherish the lunch ladies. They know that the lunch ladies are an important aspect of the Armuchee community and staff. Isabelle Espy, AHS Sophomore, said, “The lunch ladies are super sweet.” Isabelle believes that the lunch ladies are an integral part of Armuchee high because without the lunch ladies we wouldn’t have our lunch. She believes that without the lunch ladies the school just wouldn’t run or be the same without them. From Isabelle’s perspective, the lunch ladies are important because they prepare food for the entire school and genuinely care about the students and staff. Isabelle said, “the AHS lunch ladies are different from those at another schools because they know the kids at Armuchee better than the lunch ladies at other schools do and that they also know the community better.” She believes that the lunch ladies are underappreciated because most children do not think about where their food comes from or about the people that prepare it.  Isabelle believes that the students and staff of Armuchee should, “appreciate the lunch ladies more, say thank you and give them a smile.”

The Armuchee lunch ladies are a crucial part of everyday life at Armuchee. They are among the most respected and admired staff. Lunch Ladies are precious gems that should be cherished and treated with the utmost respect. Without them, AHS, simply put, wouldn’t be the same. So, go out and say thank you to a lunch lady for all that they do because they love you with all their hearts.