Hello: My name is…


Giovanna Talone

NC cafeteria staff member of 25 years, Martha Cothran, serves sophomore Ryan Lacey school lunch. “When I look at staff members, it’s often difficult to read or even see their name tags. I think that students would be able to build better relationships with the staff in our school if they could at least more easily learn their names,” Lacey said. Workers come in before school to serve breakfast, then begin cooking and preparing lunches before A lunch, starting at 11:51, until D lunch ending at 1:57. After all lunch periods end, they clean the kitchen and wash used dishes and equipment.

Giovanna Talone, Reporter

NC would not exist as the school known today without custodians, cafeteria staff and groundskeepers. These workers serve and help each individual with daily needs on school grounds while managing a safe, clean learning and teaching environment for students and teachers. These duties seem universal in terms of staff accomplishments, but these staff members gain little to no recognition on a daily basis. Students find identifying staff difficult unless asking their name directly, causing them to lack the ability to name a single staff member. This happens because the staff does not wear easily seen name tags. With members wearing noticeable name tags, students can learn their names allowing positive interactions and communication with staff members instead of just saying “thank you” for their meal.

Faculty and staff members wear their badges on lanyards, keychains or from their hip which can make names challenging to see or read. Even with visible badges, they appear unreadable unless seen close up, which defeats the purpose of identification. Students walking down hallways passing an adult without noticeable identification can spark fear and anxiety within a student. This creates panic, leading to the disruption of students’ well-being. Name tags prevent that from happening. Staff and faculty wearing visible identification allow individuals to recognize authorized personnel, providing safety for individuals on campus. This also allows the removal of unauthorized people from school grounds, which keeps students, staff, admin and faculty members secure. 

Using a staff member’s name when talking to them serves as a simple gesture that goes a long way. Instead of calling cafeteria staff “lunch ladies,” students can use their names when referring to and talking to them. Students can connect with their teachers easily when using their names and the entirety of NC’s staff deserves the same privilege. 

“I find out students’ names when they type their lunch number in, but kids never know mine and I think they should. I think it would make us more approachable and will let kids be comfortable talking to us,” cafeteria staff member Karen Cothran said.

People propose that staff members should not wear name tags because students do not see them throughout the majority of the day, therefore believing name tags serve no purpose. However, staff deserve recognition for their support in making NC a better environment for students, no matter how frequently students encounter them. 

“I’m all about respect. I’d appreciate it if they knew our names since we see them everyday. I think it would be nice,” Cothran said. New name tags make this possible. Cafeteria staff members believe pictures on badges should appear new and clear. Updated photos of all faculty and staff members remain essential, especially during the pandemic when numerous teachers wear masks covering their faces. Most badges attach with retractable clips, but this becomes an issue because staff members move around constantly when serving, cooking, and cleaning, causing workers to constantly fix their badges.  Unless frequently adjusted, this does not allow students to read the names of the helpful staff members who assist them on a daily basis. Instead of the current badges that consist of paper, durable metal name tags provide a successful alternative that would eliminate non-visible name tags. This alternative facilitates learning the names of staff members and recognizing members permitted in the building. Properly placed name tags give students the ability to feel comfortable approaching and interacting with staff members. 

“It [nametags] gives students a way of somewhat clarity towards who they’re talking to. It’ll allow students to help get to know the faculty and staff a lot more,” junior Mathias Holloway said. 

Janitorial staff clean up after around 3,000 teenagers daily. Cafeteria workers serve hundreds of breakfasts and lunches each day and grounds keepers maintain every bush, tree and patch of grass on campus. Our NC staffers deserve recognition from every faculty member and student attending NC. They deserve better name tags.