MT. PLEASANT (KDKA) — When popping out pizza slices, few can match the speed of lunch lady Marge Harenchar.
She has been a fixture at Mt. Pleasant Junior/Senior High for 50 years.
“I’ve had their grandparents, their parents, and now them,” she says. “A lot of them get married. They all come back to see me.”
Now the school is honoring the 82-year-old grandmother with signs and pins bearing the vintage photo of Marge before she began cooking and serving.
“Did you see the sexy picture of me?” she jokes, with one of the students. Teacher Sherry Kring says she was a student herself when she met the lunch lady, in this very school.
“She always made coming to lunch a good thing, a fun time. She always had a joke to tell. Or if you were down in the dumps, she kind of knew, and would cheer you right up.”
Nowadays, kids have have a myriad of munch-able choices, from Buffalo chicken to a salad bar. The lunch lady remembers when that was not the case.
“When I started, you got no choice. You got what was on the menu. Everybody got it. There were no choices at that time.”
No matter how you slice the pizza, 50 years is a long time.
“600 months, or 18,250 days,” Sherry Kring announces, as another teacher presents Marge with flowers. The moment is followed by a standing ovation from students in the cafeteria. Marge Harenchar’s reaction?
“I can’t express it,” she says, with emotion. And then it’s back to work. The lunch lady makes it clear that this is an anniversary, not a retirement.