The reason this 97-year-old lunch lady won't leave the cafeteria: 'My kids fuss, but I say keep on fussin'

Posted at 11:12 AM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-27 11:15:59-04

HANOVER COUNTY, Va. -- Ms. Evelyn helps keep the cafeteria at Mechanicsville High School in Hanover County, Virginia, running smoothly.

"I serve. I put up the fruit and everything on the lines," she said. "I do a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Wash dishes. Anything that needs to be done."

It's a job the 97-year-old lunch lady has performed with pride for the last 20 years.

"I love to work. If I didn't work, I wouldn't be 97," Ms. Evelyn said. "I still mow my grass. I've got to have the strength in my legs and in my arms. My kids fuss, but I say keep on fussin'."

Ms. Evelyn Mechanicsville High School

Ms. Evelyn said her love for the kids brought her back year after year.

The kids love her back.

When Ms. Evelyn turned 95 years old, the students and staff surprised her with a party.

Ms. Evelyn Mechanicsville High School

When she thought about hanging up her spatula, the cake, the party, and the recognition meant so much, she reconsidered.

"Ms. Evelyn is one of the unsung heroes of the school," Mechanicsville High School student Grayson Wright said. "She's here every day, putting in her best. She's never really asked for anything."

When Ms. Evelyn turned 97, Grayson gave her a handmade plaque that read "Evelyn's Kitchen."

"It was the first one he ever made. And it is gorgeous," she said.

Ms. Evelyn Mechanicsville High School

Grayson said it was the least he could do for the woman who looks after him and his classmates.

"I go out and student teach at Battlefield, so she saves me a lunch, because by the time I get back to school the cafeteria is closed," he said. "She packs me a little to-go box with all my favorite snacks in it. So she takes care of us here."

Ms. Evelyn Mechanicsville High School

Ms. Evelyn hopes this school year won't be her last to make a difference at Mechanicsville High.

"I don't feel young, but [the students] make me feel good," she said.

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