Margie Prim: The face behind Summit High’s food
December 13, 2005
Let’s face it, most lunch ladies aren’t the type of people you remember after a long day of lugging your backpack around school. The boring, baritone voice of your history teacher? Perhaps. The angry screams of your basketball coach? More likely.But your lunch lady? Reclining in her swivel chair behind the Summit High School cafeteria, Margie Prim has the look of a woman ready to buck the trend. The kitchen manager has a broad smile beamed across her face and a swagger to her personality that makes her seem … well … undeniably cool.”Shhhh!” she whispers, releasing another infectious laugh. “Sometimes I give the kids little loans, 50 cents or a quarter out of my pocket. It drives my husband crazy.”
Prim says that she works the register because she chooses to or, better yet, because she likes to. During the morning or the afternoon, the manager will plan out future meals, check on food orders and help clean dishes behind the scenes. But from 11:01 a.m. to 1:08 p.m., when the cafeteria is open for lunch, it’s time to shine with the kids. Even her own children, in grades 9 and 11, think it’s all right.”My kids think it’s pretty cool,” Prim says, explaining that she knows most of the students’ names at the high school and has a personal rapport with many of them. “(So my kids) aren’t embarrassed that their mom works at the school.”Prim hasn’t always called her present stomping grounds home. Three years ago, she worked as a kitchen manager for Summit Cove Elementary, and before that – back when she was a kid herself – Prim was traveling the world at her family’s side. Her father was in the U.S. Army and, over the course of Prim’s childhood, was stationed in Virginia, Korea, North Carolina, California and Panama.If nothing else, such an itinerant childhood has led Prim to a greater appreciation of her present surroundings, of her work at the cafeteria and her life in the mountains.
“After 22 years, I still love it,” Prim said of Summit.How does work satisfy you?”I think that we do a good job of providing a healthy hot meal for kids. I think that’s something we can be proud of.”
After a long day at school, do you still like to cook at home?”I love to bake. Cooking dinner … sometimes the family gets Hamburger Helper! For the most part, though, I do still love to cook at home.”What’s something your colleagues and students would be surprised to know about you?”I got married 20 years ago in Las Vegas … and I’m still married to the same man!”