Get to know Maria and Esme from The Grind

Lainey O’Neil, Staff Writer

If you’re ever in need of a little snack throughout the day at LFHS, there’s one place almost all students will think to go: The Grind.

The popular cafe located next to the cafeteria almost always has a long line out the door. The bright walls and loud music offer a warm and relaxing environment in which students enjoy spending time. Students undoubtedly take advantage of these delicious food options, but it may be the company in the cafe that makes the environment so attractive and welcoming.

The Grind staff consist of two vibrant ladies: Esmeralda Ramirez and Maria Cardoso. The two always have friendly smiles on their faces, sending a wave of happiness to anyone who enters the Grind.

Maria is the head Barista in the Grind and is known for her colorful eyeshadow and tasty coffees. Originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, Maria has been working at Lake Forest High School since 2016. Maria is a mother of three children ages 23, 22, and 11 and would describe herself as a bubbly and passionate person.

Prior to working here, Maria was working, but she wanted to find a part time job that would allow her to work while her kids were at school during the day, and that would give her summers off to spend time with family. Maria ended up accepting a full time job to be the Head Barista.

Maria enjoys seeing all the LFHS students grow up, and she says it helps her not get as sad when she recognizes her youngest child growing up too.

Favorite part about working in the Grind: that she can make all the coffees!

Favorite song that plays in the Grind: As It Was by Harry Styles (for right now)

Esmeralda (“Esme”)

When you go to order something from The Grind, the lady you’ll be greeted by at the cashier is Esmeralda. Esme, as the students call her, was born in Lake Forest but grew up in Waukegan. She has two sisters, and is very passionate about doing her makeup! Esme has been working at LFHS for three years and would describe herself as bubbly, fun, and outgoing.

Prior to working at LFHS, Esme worked with kids in a day care. What caught her eye about LFHS was the opportunity to try something new in a different environment. She had no experience in food service at all, but really is loving it. Since starting working at LFHS, Esme has greatly enjoyed getting to know the students and other staff members.

One way the students at LFHS have impacted Esme is comparing how LFHS students grow up and their childhood to her own experiences and high school. “It’s totally different,” Esme said. “Obviously I’m from Waukegan and you are all from Lake Forest, so just seeing the way you all grow up is like ‘oh my gosh’ because I never grew up like that. It’s amazing.”

Favorite part about working at the Grind: Learning how to make different coffees

Favorite item to eat from the Grind: the donuts

Favorite song in the Grind: Any song by Ariana Grande. “She gives me vibes,” Esme said.