Kids try to save lunch aide's job

November 27, 1996


Staff Writer

Wednesday was Joan Brewer's last day as a lunch aide at Fountaindale Elementary School, but some students want the school board to reconsider.

"We just don't think it's right," said fifth-grader Eric Crummitt, 11, of the downsizing that cost Brewer her job.

So he and classmate Dustin Kunkle, 10, started a petition they hoped would keep Brewer at their school.

Known by most students as the dish lady, or "Grandma," Brewer, 69, has washed dishes and helped the cafeteria staff serve up lunches for the past three years.

She worked as a cafeteria substitute in the school for four years before that.

But student enrollment has decreased at Fountaindale. With fewer lunches to serve, Brewer's job was eliminated.

"I've known her since I was in kindergarten," Kunkle said. "She's always nice and always talks to kids."

"I'm tickled to death that she's such a loved person," said Don Trumble, director of food and nutrition services for Washington County schools. "We certainly wish it wasn't true that she has to leave Fountaindale."


Word that Brewer was leaving spread quickly through the school after Kunkle heard about it from the custodian. Crummitt confirmed the information by asking Brewer, and then came up with the idea of starting a petition.

"We set it (the petition) on the lunch table and everyone lined up," Kunkle said. "I didn't mean for it to get this big."

The classmates collected 62 signatures - or printed likenesses - from students in grades three through five.

Even Principal Sue Gordon signed.

"They really took off with it," Gordon said. "This is real government in action."

Along with the petition, Crummitt and Kunkle plan to write a letter over Thanksgiving vacation asking the Washington County Board of Education to keep Brewer as Fountaindale's lunch aide.

"We're doing a lot of work on letters in class. I think I have the hang of it," Crummitt said.

Brewer, who also babysits children in her home, had a chance to apply for a similar position at Pangborn Elementary School. But she said that school isn't as close to her Potomac Manor home, and the early morning hours required for that job wouldn't fit as well into her schedule.

Brewer said Fountaindale is where her heart is.

"I love it here. I love these kids. These are a great bunch of kids," Brewer said, gesturing to the noisy cafeteria filled with students.

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