The Peninsula School District’s Henderson Bay High School has a winning way of not only feeding its students, but also teaching valuable life lessons along the way.
The Henderson Bay Cafe is a small hole in the wall connected to mathematics and marketing teacher Kelsey Patterson’s classroom. Its diminutive size is only in stature. The cafe is more than its student-store roots would suggest.
The cafe employs a handful of knowledge-hungry students who serve and learn as they feed their fellow students with nutritious hot and cold food during lunch break.
Started nearly seven years ago by another teacher at the school, the cafe has been restructured under the watchful eyes of paraeducator Lisa Stewart and Patterson. Net profits have gone up under their watch, with all money going back to the school in support of Associated Student Body programs.
The food, which ranges from the most popular item, pizza Hot Pockets, to healthy bagged snacks, has been carefully scrutinized by the nutritional guidelines for healthy eating options in the school district. The menu items, however, are not just cardboard alternatives to palatable food. Many of the selections are popular with the students, resulting in a noticeable rise in profits.
In fact, Patterson said she hopes to beat the record for year-long gross sales by topping $1,000.
But the store is more than a fundraising vessel for the ASB. The students participating in the store’s operation also have taken away valuable life lessons and a work ethic from the school, which has carried over to the real world of employment.
One success story is student storekeeper Haley Wade, who, because of her experience at the school cafe, landed a paying gig at an area Subway sandwich restaurant.
“It helped me work well on the register and at customer service,” Wade said of her education at the cafe.
Wade cited the comfortable atmosphere and working reality of the student customers demanding service as a big part of her early working life away from school.
Stewart was also beaming about how great the store has been for the kids.
“The best part of the store is the real-life education,” she said. “It really helps the kids.”