Sandy Houser: Cafeteria worker, Bellefonte Area Middle School
When Sandy Houser first applied for a job at Bellefonte Area School District, she was hoping to be a paraeducator working with special needs students at the middle school. Unfortunately, there weren’t any more positions in that field at the time, but former Food Service Director Dorothy Houtz told her she needed help in the kitchen.
The next day Houser began working at the Bellefonte Area Middle School cafeteria and kitchen – and 32 years later she’s still there.
“It’s kind of funny,” she recalls. “My daughter had just gone into first grade and I came in to interview for a paraeducator. The person in charge said there were no openings anymore, but that I could instead start in the kitchen tomorrow, so I started the next day. And then she was like, ‘we could use you next week, too,’ so I just kept coming back and coming back and coming back, and I’m still here.”
Most of those 32 years, Houser has operated the register for students to pay for their meals. But she also felt nostalgic for the past when remembering a time when they would make food from scratch. She was in charge of baking tea rolls, before getting them from a bread company.
“Back then, we’d make all those from scratch to go with the spaghetti (and sauce),” she said. “I still sometimes hear, ‘Hey, Houser! You remember when you made them good rolls?’ and I say, ‘yeah, they sure were good’.”
Now, she said students seem to like pizza, French fries, hot dogs and tacos the most.
Hoping to retire in the near future, Houser said the past three decades have been a pleasure, working with at least two colleagues who have been there about as long – Judy Davidson and Tammie King.
“It’s not coworkers when you come to work; it’s kind of like a family,” she said.
Houser, a Bellefonte native, graduated from Bellefonte Area High School in 1971 and was part of the second class ever to have attended BAMS when it was built in 1964. She now has two grown children who also went through the district and still currently live in the area with her three granddaughters. Houser said she also enjoys camping, decorating her home for the holidays and being involved in church activities.
*By Brit Milazzo, public relations director, BASD