BARBERTON, Ohio — At Barberton High School, the magic is created and served in the cafeteria.
But for years it’s been home to Darilyn Cummings, who has led each serving while “keeping the show going” as cafeteria manager.
“She’s really good,” said Barberton High School Principal Henry Muren. “One of my definitions of love is care. You care and you do things for others. I think that’s just what she does.”
Nancy Stoll, who is “Cook Five” on the cafeteria staff and soon-to-be cafeteria manager, echoed similar remarks.
“What I forget she remembers and the other way around,” she said. “Everything I’m going to do I learned from her. She’s taught me a lot.”
Cummings, who is a proud Barberton parent, says she has no regrets. She started her career with the school district when her kids started school.
“I was a Cook Five and that was my plan because I really enjoyed that part of it; the cooking, Cummings explained.
Cummings started at one of the district’s former elementary schools. She also served at two Barberton middle schools before moving to the high school.
“I did not see myself here,” she said. “Life happened and this job opened up and it was its own classification at the time so I took it and nobody could bump me out.”
Muren acknowledged during hard times he leaned on Cummings for guidance as the school remained dedicated to keeping students fed.
“She’s always looking out for the best interest of the students,” he said. “We really saw that with this kitchen staff and her leadership during COVID when we had to shut down and we still prepared lunches for the kids,”
Cummings credits her team for carrying her though, while the students kept her motivated.
“They make you laugh, they make you cry, they break your heart, they lift your spirits, you know? It’s nice to see when they come in as young little freshmen and when they leave as young adults ready to face the world,” she said. “We get the best part of them because they come in here [and] they’re relaxed.”
Yet, Cummings says she’s ready to refocus and serve her family in her next chapter of retirement.
“I’m excited. Tt’s time. I’m ready for an endless summer vacation," she said.