Neighbors You Should Know: Sue Kroll – The Queen of Concessions
We don’t know when players and fans will once again pack the athletic fields at Lake Mary High School, but we do know one thing for sure – Sue Kroll will be there at the concession stand to serve them with a smile when they do.
Now, in fairness, that’s not a particularly risky prediction. After all, Sue has been Lake Mary High’s matriarch of concessions for no fewer than 30 years, and despite her incredible tenure, Sue has no desire to give up the job anytime soon.
You can’t really call it a job, though... more on that later.
Sue, now 72, is a breast-cancer survivor and the third of six daughters. She first came to Lake Mary High in 1984 (only a few years after the school opened its doors) because of her dad, Bob Gaul. He had already retired a couple of times by the early 1980s, but Bob was a friend of the original principal of LMHS, Don Reynolds, and Don persuaded his buddy to take a job overseeing all maintenance on the brand-new campus. While he was there, Bob and his wife, Milly, decided to help out at – you guessed it – the concession stand for football games, etc. When Sue came on board as the front-office receptionist in ‘84, she naturally gave her parents a hand in the concession stand. When Bob retired from LMHS in 1989, Principal Reynolds asked Sue if she wanted to take over for her folks.
Ever since, at just about every game for every sport at Lake Mary High, Sue has been on duty, tirelessly working with a team of volunteers to serve up burgers and dogs, dole out candy, and sell soda by the fizzy gallon.
To this day, though she retired as Lake Mary High’s bookkeeper in 2014, Sue orders all the food, drinks, and candy herself. She uses an Orlando vendor for the meat, but she buys most everything else in bulk at Sam’s Club.
“But lately, it’s been cheaper to get popcorn from Amazon,” says Sue, who keeps an eagle eye out for bargains, so Lake Mary’s teams can put the extra profit right back into their athletic programs. “Everything is delivered to my house to make sure the orders are right, then I take them over to campus.”
Before and after every game – from football to baseball to soccer, and more – Sue counts every single burger patty, every single hot dog, every single candy bar, and everything else for sale to keep hyper-accurate records of how much money should go to the team. It’s a monumental task, and one for which Sue has never been paid any extra salary.
“Every now and then, Mr. Reynolds would give me a little something, or the Booster Club would throw me a hundred bucks, but I never did it for money,” says Sue. “I just did it because I love it.”
Really? Sue loves working most nights, often staying on campus past 11:00 p.m. for a late game counting burgers and bags of Skittles? All for no pay?
“Yeah, I really enjoy it,” Sue affirms. “I really love the people – the parents and the kids. I love teenagers. I’ve been doing this so long, I now see the children and grandchildren of friends and students I knew from back in the ‘80s. It means a lot to me.”
Sue’s legacy at LMHS – both in the bookkeeper’s office and the concession stand – is immeasurable. It’s a family legacy, too. The current concession stand at the LMHS football stadium is dedicated to Sue’s dad. It’s not the original concession stand, though. The first one burned down after someone (not Sue, for the record) left a Crock-Pot on after a soccer game.
Though she has no plans to stop anytime soon, Sue knows she can’t continue to run concessions forever. The only question is who will take over when the day finally comes. Sue’s not sure, but her grandkids (including an incoming freshman at LMHS) have been spotted shadowing Sue at the concession stand.
Time will tell...
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