Dining Hall Feature: Nate’s Story

Nate Stanels inside Ellsworth Hall’s Dining Hall

Nate has only been working at Western Reserve Academy’s dining hall since last March, starting out as a dishwasher before moving up. He is usually working long shifts from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., yet the work is fulfilling for him and gives him a sense of productiveness, whether it be prepping, cooking or serving food.

He doesn’t let the pressure of the understaffed dining hall get to him. Rather, Nate always greets students in the line with a smile. Students at WRA recognize Nate’s kindness and how he goes out of his way to make students feel welcome. Andrew Petras ’23 says, “Nate creates connections with students, and I find that important at a school where the community is tightly knit. Nate serves us food with a sense of personal touch.”

Nate attended Stow Munroe-Falls High School and was friends with people who had all types of interests. Nate empathizes with the type of pressure WRA students are under, so he shares that this is their time to focus hard on their studies, but also prioritize sleep.

Nate has work experience outside of food service. He worked at Ultimate Wash Car Wash after high school before turning to McDonalds after he was done working among the elements with chapped hands. The biggest difference between his previous jobs and his current one is his ability to interact meaningfully with his guests. He says, “I like talking to you guys, seeing how your day’s going.”

Over the years, he has benefited from living in a couple of group homes, which have allowed him to make friends who he still keeps in touch with. Now he has his own place only 20 minutes from the dining hall.
Nate prioritizes the importance of family in his life. Nate showed his love for his mom and his kind heart when he surprised her for her birthday. He had a day off, but didn’t tell his mom that he was actually going to the dining hall to make her chicken parmesan and cookies. When he came home from the dining hall earlier than usual, his mom was confused, but when she saw the food and realized it was made all for her, she was brought to tears by the gesture.

Nate is eager to improve his skills as a chef in hopes of crafting his own kitchen creations. Nate’s goal for the future is to “be nice to everyone and be a gentleman,” which he has already accomplished.

-Charlotte Hooker ’23

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