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December 21, 2016

Long-time Desert Hills Middle School cooks reflect on years at former campus

Sherry Roueche and LaRee Fuller served lunches at the former Desert Hills Middle School campus for so many years some of the students they provided meals to have come back through their lunch line as teachers.

“And now we’re feeding their kids,” Fuller adds.

They have worked in the lunchroom at the former Desert Hills campus on 10th Place since 1983 and 1985, respectively, serving thousands of students. Roueche and Fuller stayed at the campus when Desert Hills moved to its building on Clodfelter Road and Chinook Middle School set up temporary house in the old campus this fall.

“This is where are our hearts are,” Fuller says.

On December 20, they served lunch to students for the last time in the lunchroom where they’ve spent more than 30 years. They will move with the rest of Chinook’s staff and students to a new building that will open for classes on January 4.

The old campus will be largely demolished to make way for a Dual Language elementary school. The gym building will be turned into a home for Mid-Columbia Partnership, the district’s homeschool program.

“It’s a bittersweet day,” Roueche says.

They’ve seen student tastes and preferences on the lunch menu shift over the years. Turkey gravy, though, has long reigned as the best item on the lunchroom calendar, they said.

Both say staff at the campus have always made them feel like part of the team. And they love being a part of student lives.

“Sometimes these kids just need a compliment, a smile and to be asked how their day is going,” Roueche says.