Lakesha Green’s car is typically the first car in the parking lot at Lane Middle School each morning. While teachers are tasked with nourishing students’ minds, her job is to nourish their bodies. That starts with breakfast, which she delivers to classrooms before students arrive. She’s the school café manager or, as students affectionately call her, “Miss Kesha.”

Green has worked in Fort Wayne Community Schools cafeterias for 11 years and has been a café manager for the past five. The Northrop High School graduate and mother of two teenagers started working in nutrition services when her children were in preschool and she was looking for a job with hours that would accommodate her young family.

“I absolutely love it,” she said.

School lunches are prepared daily in the school’s newly renovated kitchen. In addition to overseeing the cafeteria’s daily operations, Green designs lunch menus from a recipe database created by the district’s dietitians. The recipes aren’t just nutritious; they’re pretty tasty, she said. She has even tried some of the recipes at home — the beefaroni is a hit with her kids.

In May, FWCS announced it would offer breakfast and lunch at no cost to students in elementary, middle and high schools. Green said it was a positive step.

“It’s a really good program, and I’m glad it got put in place because now parents and kids don’t have to worry about where they’re going to get lunch money from. That’s one less thing for them to worry about so that they can focus on their school work and getting through the school day,” she said.

Green also enjoys interacting with students during their lunch periods.

“I’m out there every lunch walking around, talking to them, making sure they’re not playing in line,” she said.

“A lot of people say middle school is hard because (students are) growing into who they are and trying to figure out who they are. Some days, all it takes is for you to say ‘Have a good day!’ to brighten their day.”

Here’s a glimpse into a day in her life on Oct. 5, 2018:

6:48 a.m. Cafe manager Lakesha Green delivers packaged breakfasts to classrooms at Lane Middle School. PHOTOS BY BRIDGETT HERNANDEZ
6:54 a.m. Green and coworker Karen Vorndran’s job starts before students arrive. Each morning, they deliver about 450 packaged breakfasts to classrooms.
9:13 a.m. Green, a self-described “die-hard football mom” chats with milk delivery man Dave Elwood about Snider High School’s upcoming game. Her son, Jayshawn Underwood, a junior, plays defensive back for the team.
10:50 a.m. Green eats an early lunch with her team before the lunch rush. They typically eat whatever is on the menu that day.
10:59 a.m. Green prepares for the first of three lunch periods.
11:19 a.m. Green refills fruit on the cold line. Students must take a piece of fruit with their lunch. Sometimes it goes uneaten — students place leftover apples in a box for donation. Other times, Green said, students will ask for second servings of fruit. “We do not deny them if they want extra servings of fruits or vegetables,” she said.
11:33 a.m. Green chats with a student during the first lunch period. “I try to walk around and ask their opinion on the food. If they don’t like something, they will tell me,” she laughed.
7:16 p.m. Green and Nadia Cotterman cheer at a high school football game against Snider and Bishop Dwenger. The friends and coworkers both have a son on the Snider team. Snider won the game with a score of 21-13, breaking Dwenger’s seven-game winning streak.

By the numbers:

4:30 a.m. Time Green wakes up

350-450 Number of breakfasts served each day

Granola bar Green’s breakfast of choice

650 Number of lunches served each day

More than 60 Number of entree choices for lunch

Orange chicken with rice Most popular entree