Celebrity in the Commons

Michael Raby, helps feed the UPrep community


Photo: Teddy Bergstrom

Raby punches in a student’s number purely based on memory.

From Takis to Chocolate Milk, the commons has it all. The face of the commons, Michael, the lunch man, Michael Raby, spends most of his time chatting with students in the lunch line and memorizing students’ numbers. When he is not punching in numbers or answering questions, he is in the back doing the part of his job he enjoys less.
“I’m usually processing orders, doing paperwork, running budgets, resolving issues when parents contact me about allergies,” Raby said. “I also handle billing the school and catering functions and other stuff, basically the boring stuff, someone has to do it to keep the commons running.”One thing Raby is known for is memorizing nearly everyone’s number.
“There are about 750 people at University Prep which sounds like a lot of people, but if you think about the fact that my job is to interact with those people and get to know them, it isn’t that daunting,” Raby said.
After long weeks of helping students, ordering snacks and managing catering, Raby finds a way to relax.

“There’s a game called Warhammer 40k, it’s like little plastic models. I build them and then paint them like little space robots and stuff like that. Then, I hang out with some buddies on the weekends and we play a game based around those little space robots,” Raby said.
Raby believes that although the Commons Cafe has good snacks and drinks there is always more that could be added.
“I would love to add a Snickers bar or even a Payday bar,” Raby said. “And then with drinks, it’s funny because all those drinks are either things I want in there or are things students have requested, but I know a lot of people ask for coffee products.”
Raby’s enthusiasm for weird and outside-of-the-box foods helps him come up with new ideas for food in the Commons Cafe.
“Whilst on my travels I tried something called drunken shrimp, it’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever eaten. The fishermen go down to a river and catch little weird shrimp,” Raby said. “They throw them in a pot and wash them off. Then they make this concoction of an alcoholic hot sauce. Then they drown the shrimp in this sauce for a second, then put a bowl over it and serve it to you. Then when you open the bowl, they go flying everywhere.
Raby is known at UPrep as being “the lunch man”, but he had a life before UPrep.
“My career was a ‘fancy businessman.’ I was a successful salesman so I was able to sell my personality and leadership skills,” Raby said. “But I wanted something simpler.”