Fermi High School cafeteria employee retires after 41 years

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Enfield - posted Tue., Jan. 7, 2014
Olga Telmosse reflects on her 41 years at Fermi High School. Photo by Lisa Stone.
Olga Telmosse reflects on her 41 years at Fermi High School. Photo by Lisa Stone.

To many, retired cafeteria worker Olga Telmosse was as much a part of Fermi High School as the mortar between the bricks. Fermi High opened in 1971, and one year later, Telmosse became an employee in the school cafeteria. She was assigned to the cash register and never left. This allowed her to be in contact with students on a regular basis.

Over the years, Telmosse has witnessed a great deal of changes in the manner in which the cafeteria was run. “We used to receive all of our food fresh and we would prepare them,” said Telmosse. “We would cut and cook the chicken. Now, it comes prepared and we just heated it up. The pizza was made from scratch, too. For the last six years or so, it has been very different.”

Many previous graduates still recognize Telmosse when she is out around town, which surprises Telmosse and warms her heart. In 1995, “One girl came running across Sofia’s Restaurant’s parking lot to say hello,” Telmosse remembered. “She was a student that was celebrating her birthday at school and I made a big deal about it, so that must have stuck with her. I always had some kind of saying for the students.”

One of those sayings was, “Here comes Miss America.” That was what Telmosse said to one girl who seemed a bit distant one day. That was a typical greeting from Telmosse for this one particular student. One day the girl confided in Telmosse, “I had many days of not wanting to go to school, but then I would think of you saying, ‘Here comes Miss America,’ and I would push myself to go.” That really meant a lot to Telmosse, who could feel that she was making a difference in the students’ lives.

Deborah Dellarippa was a graduate of Fermi in 1980. “I remember how sweet Olga was,” said Dellarippa. “She always had a friendly smile and a kind word. It was a nice break from the regular routine of school. It is so cool to think that she was there when I went to school and then my niece and nephews got to experience knowing her as well.” Some of the previous students that Telmosse was happy to see on a regular basis included her daughter, Heidi, her son, Tommy and her grandson, Benjamin.

“On December 5, I believe in 2010, a student named Nick was coming through my line. I told him that December 6 was actually Saint Nicholas Day. He just smiled and laughed. I told his girlfriend about St. Nicholas Day and that she should buy Nick a present. She did and I know through his younger brother that she still does.” It was typical for Telmosse to interact with the students in that way. The student body appreciated all of her attention and concern. In 1989, the students at Fermi voted Telmosse and her husband, Larry, who was at the time the head custodian of the school, “Favorite Falcons.” This was the students’ way of showing their love and appreciation for the pair.

A 1988 Fermi graduate by the name of Jim Plato had written an article for a local newspaper that described Telmosse. In the article, he talked about the typical lunch that was being served. It was clear that the food at the time was not to his liking, but he went on to rave about Telmosse. He said, “I look up from the tray, and standing there in her white outfit with a grin on her face is Olga. No matter how bad your day has been, and no matter how much you regret eating that food, you just have to crack a smile at this sweet little lady and ask, ‘How ya doin, Olga?’”


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