Gemini School cafeteria worker helps kids make healthy choices
Linda Paulus, of Niles, lead cashier at Gemini Junior High School in Niles, puts a can of juice in a display case in the cafeteria. She has worked at the school for 12 years. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Linda Paulus
BEST KNOWN AS:
Gemini Junior High School cafeteria cashier
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:18AM
NILES — When Linda Paulus goes to work, there’s never a dull moment.
Paulus, lead cashier at Gemini Junior High School, has worked in the school’s cafeteria for 12 years.
“I originally liked the schedule and the friendly atmosphere created by the staff,” Paulus said of what initially attracted her to the job.
And a dozen years later, she is still enjoying the lively atmosphere surrounding the job.
“There’s never a dull moment in the Gemini cafeteria,” Paulus said. “We serve about 500 students during the lunch periods and we are getting ready to serve, serving or cleaning up.”
Paulus enjoys several aspects of her job as a school-cafeteria worker.
“Not only do I enjoy interacting with the faculty and staff, but I love the fact that we get to help educate students by letting them know how good nutritional choices make them healthier, happier and better in school,” Paulus said.
Paulus said Gemini offers a variety of fruits and vegetables for youngsters to choose from every day, as well as key ingredients that help to make their favorites more healthful.
Of course, Paulus acknowledges that pizza is still a favorite among children, but she said people may be surprised that the students also like a variety of other foods.
Paulus said the spicy-chicken sandwiches and Asian dishes, such as sweet-and-sour chicken, are becoming increasingly popular.
“I didn’t expect kids to like spicy foods, but they are definitely becoming more aware of different flavors over the years,” Paulus said.
Donald Regal, of the school’s food service, Sodexo, said the company has been leaning toward whole-wheat products and steering away from trans fats for many years before certain regulations were in place.
“She’s really good with the kids,” Regal said. “She’s very caring.”
Regal said Paulus takes time with the children to make sure they are always trying to make more-healthful food choices.
“We teach kids about the importance of moderation, portion control and eating a balanced plate, and we reinforce those lessons by serving healthy school meals,” Paulus said. “We have a real opportunity to get students started down the right path in life and we take that seriously.”
Gemini Junior High School, part of East Maine School District 63, is at 8955 Greenwood Ave. in Niles.