Shirley Burch says she remembers her starting salary at Pioneer 44 years ago.
"$2.70 an hour. And I had to pay for a babysitter out of that!"
Mrs. Burch retired from her position as cafeteria manager at the middle school on Oct. 8. She said she will miss her 'second home'.
"I don't want to leave," she said. "But I feel it is time."
Principal Melissa Prorok estimated that, over 44 years, Mrs. Burch has prepared and distributed 3.7 million lunches and 770,000 breakfasts. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Mrs. Burch helped prep, package, and distribute over 95,000 meals.
Fellow Pioneer Food Service staff were on hand to surprise Mrs. Burch on her last day. She said she was touched by the greeting cards with goodbye messages from students and staff. Ms. Prorok then proclaimed it Shirley Burch Day over the PA announcements.
Mrs. Burch shared her message of thanks over the PA. Ms. Prorok presented Mrs. Burch with a key to the school, and said she is welcome back anytime.