Kathy Dietz: 32 Years at BVN

BVN was founded in 1986. Kathy Dietz has been working in the school for the last 32 years—the longest time a current employee at BVN has stayed with the school.

Dietz is from Pennsylvania, but she moved to Kansas on December 6,1986. A week after she moved, she started working at BVN. She had a son in kindergarten, and the job made it easier for her to spend time with him. 

“I started here when my son was in kindergarten, and I was able to be home with him when he wasn’t in school. The reason I stay here is because I like what I do. I come in everyday and I like seeing the students, their lives and all that stuff,” Dietz said. 

Besides enjoying the contact she has with the students, Dietz likes to cook. Her family taught her to cook and she has also worked in a Italian restaurant back in Pennsylvania. 

“I was always with my mom in the kitchen making food. My grandmothers also cooked a lot, and they always wanted me to cook with them because we had a big family and they needed help,” Dietz said.

Dietz manages the cafeteria, so besides cooking, she has a lot of other duties too. After working there for so many years, Dietz is used to the processes of the kitchen.

“I manage the cafeteria and order all the food. We have a dietician who does our menu for us, and we figure out how much of everything we need to cook for the day. We also have a stick book that we have to fill out everyday of what we sold and count the money,” Dietz said. “After doing it for so many years, I know how many hamburgers you’re going to eat [any] day we have hamburgers. I just know the process”.

While the school has grown over the last 32 years, the kitchen has also become more diverse with their menus. Staff members have changed over the years, yet Dietz is still a part of the BVN employees. 

“When I first started here, there were 700 students in the school. And now there are over 1500. When I started, there were 8 schools in the district, and I think there are 30 to 34 schools now. That’s how things have grown. We used to have just two hot options, one cold sandwich, and the salad bar when I started. And now look what we have. We also had a baker that would bake homemade rolls everyday, but because of the guidelines we can’t do that anymore,” Dietz said. 

Dietz not only loves the school, but she also likes to talk. She is interested in learning about different countries, which she does by talking to students and her coworkers. 

“I love the school, the staff, the kids, the job. I love the people I work with. It’s fun to find out all the different things you guys are doing in life. It’s fun to talk to different people. I like to talk to people from different countries. I can learn about their countries. Not only [do] I have that with the students, I have that with the staff. It’s fun to know about their cultures,” Dietz said. 

According to Dietz, the employees have some kind of bonding with some of the students, and these bonds last for a long time, even after the students graduate. The bonds don’t happen for a specific reason, or with specific kids. Sometimes they happen for reasons as simple as students going through their line everyday. 

“I’ve had a girl that probably graduated 10 years ago and still comes to see me. I have a guy that graduated about five years ago and came to see us this year. He’s actually living in Thailand now, and when he came back to visit, he made sure to come and see us,” Dietz said. 

Rebecca Bohannon has been working in the school’s cafeteria for the last three months, and during this time she became friends with Dietz. According to her, Dietz is not only a great friend, but one of the best bosses she’s ever had, who is fun but also makes everyone get the job done. 

“She treats you as a person, not just like an employee. She is very concerned about everything that goes on with you. For example, I fell and cut my finger, and she always asks me how I’m doing,” Bohannon said. 

Lorri Simpson also works in the school’s cafeteria and has known Dietz since she was in high school. Her mom worked with Dietz at BVN, and that’s how she first met Dietz. 

“I enjoy coming to work everyday because she makes me laugh, and it’s just a pleasure to work with Kathy. She’s is awesome, and I see how much she loves these kids,” Simpson said. 

According to Dietz, she really likes the students, and that’s why as advice, she suggests them to enjoy their high school years. 

“I love the students. I love getting to know them. Getting to see [them] grow up and leave. Makes me sad when they graduate,” Dietz said. “[They] think [they] want to get out of school, but once [they’re] out of here, life gets a lot harder. [They should enjoy their] high school years.”