Assistant principal whips up breakfasts for students

Jeff Brownfield flips pancakes in the All Saints Catholic School cafeteria. Brownfield, the assistant principal, makes pancakes for breakfast every Friday during the school year.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — A special pancake breakfast held last October led to a weekly tradition for students at All Saints Catholic School.

Jeff Brownfield, assistant principal at the school, said the Oct. 9 pancake breakfast was such a success that students asked when it would happen again.

The school offers a cold and hot breakfast option every school day, but pancakes made by the assistant principal was not a “regular offering.”


Since then, Brownfield grabs a spatula and makes pancakes every Friday when school is in session. With the assistant principal flipping pancakes, the number of students eating breakfast on Friday mornings has increased.

On Dec. 19 chocolate chip pancakes were on the menu, but school had to be cancelled because of snowy weather. Students were promised chocolate chip pancakes would be served Jan. 9.

Brownfield got a late start cooking his pancakes because the container of chocolate chips was lower than it should have been. He made a trip to the store to buy more. Meanwhile, the cafeteria staff cooked up plain pancakes.

When he returned, and with a griddle and two large pans going at one time, he’d add oil as needed to prevent sticking, pour in batter prepared by the staff, add chocolate chips and flip the pancakes. He transferred the cooked pancakes to a tray for the staff to serve. The routine continued over and over.

In all, Brownfield made more than 250 plain and chocolate chip pancakes that day, with occasional help from the cafeteria staff, who also cooked sausage, filled bowls with cereal, provided cinnamon rolls and moved students along to the cashier.

On a typical morning during the winter, Brownfield said,  about 80 students eat breakfast at the school. On Jan. 9, 132 students ate breakfast.

Because of the late start and the large number of students who showed up, breakfast was running behind. “We have to serve them,” he said. So he asked that an announcement be made to tell teachers not to mark students tardy who were at breakfast.

More than a dozen students were in the cafeteria after 8 a.m., and Brownfield made sure they weren’t talking too much to avoid class.

A group of four girls finished breakfast at the bell. Three had pancakes. All three raved about them. The fourth chose cereal because she does not like pancakes.

As Brownfield finished cooking pancakes, he asked what kind he should cook up next. One staff member suggested blueberries and he said that would be it.

After he sat down to savor his cooking, Principal Tammy Conrad walked by and said, “I want strawberries with whip cream. That’s my favorite.”

Brownfield responded, “Blueberries are next, then we’ll do strawberries.”

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