The Beloved Lunch Lady of Mac

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By: Karlie Sneed

With her kind smile and encouraging comments, Sandra Kay Johnson is Mac’s beloved woman of the caf who brings everyone rays of sunlight on cold, cloudy days. I was given the opportunity of interviewing Sandra and digging deeper into her past. Along the way I discovered her desire to treat others with love and kindness is a trait that has always been a part of her identity.

Sandra has long been a part of McPherson’s community. Born and raised here, she describes her childhood as being “fun” and “safe.” “It was a lot different back then than it is now,” Sandra states. “It wasn’t scary and children could run across town.” During her youth days, Sandra enjoyed many subjects such as art, history, and geography. However, she was most skilled at and most passionate about music. “I loved music… I played trumpet, I played drums. At home, I would play trombone because it was my brother’s. I played guitar. And I played piano by ear, which I would sneak into the music room all the time and would play a little bit in between classes, run out, and hope I never got caught.” Sandra also notes that today she still loves to play her grand piano at home for fun.

During her young adult days, Sandra attended Hutchinson Junior College for early childhood development for three years. I asked about her experience during college: “We did an ‘In-House.’ Our classes were taught by professionals in our district… It was in the evenings and late afternoons. I loved it.” Sandra completed her time there and received her CDA (Child Development Associate) certification and loved her time “with the little ones.” She briefly mentioned that she also had little ones of her own. Sandra worked in this school district for 10 years while also involving herself with other jobs around that time; her jobs varied from being an “aid” to being a “secretary.” During our interview, she revealed her true character and gave me the impression that she has always been motivated with the ultimate goal of serving and helping others.

Sandra has been involved with McPherson College for 4 years now. She loved working with “the little ones” but felt a desire to switch things up in her life. “I was scared to death to change and I pushed myself…it was the first job I saw, pretty much, and I just applied for it and got it immediately…I cried for two months. It was hard for me because I wasn’t used to doing any of this….the job itself, you know I never would have done any of this.” 

Sandra pushed herself to step out her comfort zone and learn something new, and upon asking her if she was given the opportunity to enjoy something she once enjoyed she stated that she was content with her life up to this point. Sandra is happy here at Mac and hopes to continue her everyday motivation of “giving students a comfort zone and a positive experience,” both aspects of life which she believes to be important.