Katy Daugherty

Lunch staff members Sarah Sanchez, Gloria Ballao and Jackie Palovick share their years of experience in the cafeteria. Each of them have worked in the district at least nine years.

Behind the counter: Meet the lunch staff

TRL's Cora Blasko interviews three of the lunch staff's members: Sarah Sanchez, Gloria Ballao and Jackie Palovick.

January 24, 2023


Katy Daugherty

Sarah Sanchez has worked in the district for nine years. Above all else, Sanchez enjoys witnessing the kindness that students display.

Sarah Sanchez

At A Glance:

Favorite drink: Diet Dr. Pepper

Favorite lunch line food: The burrito line, because you can pick and choose

Favorite color: Gray

Years working: Nine


Looking Deeper:

The Red Ledger: What do you enjoy about working on the lunch staff?

Sarah Sanchez: It’s fun, I like that I just have a four hour shift, so it’s flexible. It’s fast paced, so that’s good, and I like the people I work with. I like getting to know the kids and meeting new kids each year and seeing how they change over the years.

TRL: What exactly is your job?

SS: I do food prep, sometimes I cook, I serve, I clean, I do inventory, pretty much everything. We all end up doing it at some point.

TRL: Is there an experience with the students that you like best?

SS: The experiences I like best are when I see kids in line being super kind. Like somebody doesn’t have money, sometimes the kid behind them will buy the Chick-fil-a for them. That’s really heartwarming to me. I like seeing how kind the kids at Lovejoy are. I don’t know that it happens everywhere.

TRL: Are there any certain students that stuck out to you?

 SS: Oh, yeah. There’s definitely the ones who talk back, you know, engage with us. We really like to talk to them.

TRL: What kind of stuff do you talk about?

SS: A lot of us will read the school newspaper, and the emails that come out, so we try and interact with the kids we see that have some accomplishments. Normally that’s fun, because they’re really excited that we actually know, like, “Oh, congratulations, we just saw that you won, like, cross country state recently,” and kids are really excited that we actually pay attention to that. So that’s fun, to interact with them like that.



Gloria Ballao has worked in the district for 15 years. Ballao also works mornings while the cafeteria is serving breakfast.

Gloria Ballao

At A Glance:

Favorite drink: Water and coffee

Favorite book genre: Mostly sad books

Favorite lunch line food: The hummus boxes

Years working: 15

Looking Deeper:

The Red Ledger: Have you worked at other schools?

Gloria Ballao: Years ago, one year at Wylie High School.

TRL: Do you like the job?

GB: I like it. Yeah, 15 years.

TRL: Are there any students or experiences that have stuck out to you?

GB: I like all the students. I like serving with kids. I really like working here, especially serving the kids.

TRL: What part of your job do you like best?

GB: I like making food, and serving as well. I serve breakfast. My favorite is to serve with the kids, yes, and interact with the kids.


Katy Daugherty

Jackie Palovick has worked in the district for 15 years. Palovick recalls a frightening encounter one year on staff.

Jackie Palovick

At A Glance: 

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite drink: Water with lemon, and coffee

Favorite lunch line food: The hummus box

Looking Deeper:

The Red Ledger: How long have you worked here

Jackie Palovick: I’ve been here 15 years as well.

TRL: Did you and Gloria Ballao start at the same time?

JP: Pretty much. Six months. Pretty much the same.

TRL: Experiences, people, anything that’s stuck with you?

JP: Every year there are new people coming in, and then there’s always something that seems to happen. One year- It’s not the best story, but it worked out well- we were doing a food demonstration of different types of hamburger patties to try. One of the students was sampling the food and he started to choke on the meat. We actually had to take his backpack off and do the Heimlich on him, and he was okay. It was a scary situation. It wasn’t a good situation, but we handled it. It’s always good to know what to do in different situations.

TRL: What about other situations?

JP: I know this year, we have a student [whose] food has to be puréed, so preparing that, it’s interesting to do that. You’d be surprised what you can put in a blender to taste good.

TRL: Have you worked at any other schools?

JP: Nope. This is the only one.

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