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For years, Nicki Caudill and her close friends and colleagues at Johnson Central High School have been eating lunch together in teacher Amiee Webb's room and talking about their families, their lives – and what they eat.

The teachers in Paintsville, eastern Kentucky, had so much fun that one day in 2023, Caudill said, she came up with the idea of ​​recording a video of them talking about what they ate for lunch and putting the video on TikTok.

She changed the name of her personal TikTok account to “JCHS Lunch Bunch.”

“We talk about our lunch, we talk about our family, we laugh at each other, we make fun of what we eat. We just got people interested in us. It just took off from there. It's wild,” Caudill told the Herald-Leader on Friday.

“We thought she was crazy when she did it, but we had fun doing it,” Webb said. “A few weeks later, we had positive feedback, so we just kept going.”

Her TikTok account had at least 28,400 followers this week and caught the attention of the Washington Post.

The concept is simple: each video features a short clip in which each employee describes what they brought for lunch that day.

Some of her videos have been viewed more than half a million times.

The staff presents a wide variety of flavors in lunch dishes, from Taco Bell burritos to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to leftover homemade tomato soup from the night before's dinner to a school lunch tray full of chicken and mashed potatoes.

Along the way, the employees laugh and tell us anecdotes from their everyday lives – one is on sick leave because of an upset stomach, another wanted to order a $5 sandwich at Subway but ruined the offer by adding bacon and paying $15.98 for a sandwich and fries.

They obviously have fun with their audience.

In a March 14 video, they teased: “We have a big announcement. One of us is pregnant and we want you to guess.” Before eating lunch that day, seven employees lined up and introduced themselves so viewers could voice their guesses in the comments as to who the mom-to-be was.

Sometimes they answer questions from viewers in the videos that follow. In one video, they share a recipe for spaghetti squash casserole, and in another, they give details about the popcorn seasoning a staffer uses to add flavor to apple slices.

“All of these ingredients earn you zero points on Weight Watchers if you use a quarter teaspoon or less, and they make the apples absolutely delicious,” the videographer says off-camera.

When viewers wanted to know how they manage to get lunch at restaurants during the short lunch breaks that schools are allowed, they made a video that showed an aerial view of the school with all the food outlets nearby.

Caudill posts on TikTok Monday through Friday during the school year and Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the summer, with teachers in the group sending Caudill videos to post. Fans told them they couldn't go all summer without the videos, Caudill said.

A video might include good-natured jokes about tuna that looks “soupy” or about strange eaters, such as teachers who don't put sauce on their food, she said.

Weight Watchers sent the group lunches and supplies. Other food companies sent shakes and salads. State education officials and a TV meteorologist stopped by for lunch.

Webb said between 10 and 14 teachers show up each day.

“We've always been just friends and I think it shows,” Webb said. “A lot of us do things together outside of class, too.”

She said the group is “pretty open” in the videos, talking about their health experiences, their children and their vacations.

“We try to give little insights into our personalities,” she said.

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