Student heroes keeping Ventura fed


Charlotte D'Orsi

High school students are among the many essential workers putting their health at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.


Amongst the chaos of the Coronavirus outbreak, citizens turn to healthcare workers for reassurance. While first responders play an integral part in maintaining our nation’s composure and keeping the population healthy, there are other essential workers who contribute substantially to the wellbeing of our society as well. Grocery store employees, fast food workers, and delivery service workers continue to put their health at risk in order to keep society running, and a great number of these workers are still in high school.

Few would have guessed that in the case of a global pandemic, the world would not only be thanking doctors and nurses for administering virus testing but also teenagers who keep grocery shelves stocked, enforce precautionary health procedures and keep our nation fed.

Ventura High School senior, Riley Blunt works at Trader Joes in Midtown Ventura. Blunt explained, “Overall, working during this pandemic has been fine for me, I haven’t been too worried … I love my job and it’s been awesome to have something to focus on during the quarantine.”

Seniors Jocelyn Quezada (right) and Konner MacGregor (left) working at Robeks Juice. Quezada commented, “I do [feel like my health is at risk] just because we don’t require others to wear a mask when they come in.” Photo from: Jocelyn Quezada
Trader Joes has been implementing many safety precautions as a result of the outbreak by performing daily wellness checks on their employees and limiting the number of shoppers allowed in the store. Blunt commented, “A big thing that us employees really appreciate is when customers wear masks because it just makes everybody feel much safer.”

VHS senior, Luc Levasseur works at Native Pizza. He commented that “[his job is] much more stressful but [they] have seen a lot more business in regards to take out and delivery orders.” Despite the newfound stress of his job, Levasseur says that he is “grateful to be employed.” 

Similar to Trader Joes, Levasseur explained, “[Native Pizza] is doing a lot more to ensure the safety of our workers and community by constantly disinfecting and wearing masks and gloves,” he continued, “I definitely can be at risk if I don’t follow the right procedures but I’m confident in my ability to keep myself safe.”

Another VHS student, senior Jocelyn Quezada, commented on her job at Robeks Juice, “At first, [my job] was super boring because it was really slow and now it’s starting to pick up again so it’s a little more stressful.” 

Unlike Trader Joes and Native Pizza, Robeks Juice does not require their employees or customers to wear masks, Quezada commented that she does not wear one, however, “[they] do appreciate when others do while they wait in the store … It’s a lot harder to wear a mask for 4 hours than 5 minutes.”

While wearing a mask is optional, Quezada mentioned that Robeks “got a new plastic sheet that sits in front of [the] cash register,” and “[they] sanitize and disinfect very often.” She also added, “Our boss encourages us to stay home even if we are only feeling a little sick, as of now none of [the employees] have [the coronavirus.]”

Similar to Blunt and Levasseur, Quezada explained, “I like having a job because it gives me something to do, I work three to four days a week, usually four hour shifts, so it isn’t that bad.”

Despite the health risks associated with continuing to work, students seem to value the opportunity to help their community and stay occupied during the quarantine order. Blunt concluded by saying, “People have been really appreciative of us working and it’s nice to have that appreciation, it’s very motivating.”