Centre cooks enjoy serving students
“Hello. How are you this morning?”
Inga Nordstrom meets students with a cheery greeting as they come to the Centre lunchroom to eat breakfast on school day mornings. She often addresses them by name.
Nordstrom is the head cook. She and her assistant, Mary Ann Mille, have a combined total of almost 50 years of service to the school district in that capacity.
They both said students never complain about their food and appear to be satisfied with what they get.
This year has seen a few changes, such as smaller bread portions and no seconds except for fruits and vegetables.
Nordstrom is responsible for planning meals in accordance with guidelines as prescribed for the different age levels.
She also is in charge of ordering the food and keeping track of meals served.
On average, the cooks serve lunch to 220 students and staff and breakfast to 90 to 95.
Nordstrom’s accent identifies her as a recent German immigrant. The 63-year-old woman came to the U.S. when she was 27 and earned her citizenship. She has lived in Lincolnville since 1981. She has three children who went through Centre schools.
Mille, 61, is the wife of the late Ron Mille, the head custodian at Centre High School for many years.
They moved to a farm near Lincolnville in 1986. She now lives in Hillsboro but still owns the farm.
She has three daughters and a son, all CHS graduates.
Mille was the head custodian at Centre Elementary School in Lost Springs until the students were moved to the high school site three years ago.
She doesn’t mind being an assistant cook.
“It is a relaxing position for me,” she said. “I have no more paperwork. They could offer me $5 more an hour and I wouldn’t take it (the head position).”
“We’ve enjoyed working for the school,” Nordstrom said.
She plans to continue working for at least another year before retiring.