By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor
Until recently, Community High School students who wanted to relax and chow down in the school cafeteria were out of luck.
There was no cafeteria.
That’s all changed now with the grand opening of Community Cafe.
“The number of kids who are coming here every day just keeps growing and growing and growing,” said Dean Marci Tuzinski at today’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, referring to the cafe that’s been open for several weeks. “And it is hopping.”
Tuzinsk noted that the new cafe is more than just a place to get food, which soothes not just the stomach, but the soul.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift helped students cut the ribbon leading to the cafe, which is located in the school’s lower level in the room formerly used by the Jazz Band for practice.
It all started in 2018 when the district’s new wellness coordinator, Angela Demetriou, was assessing lunchrooms in all schools and realized that Community didn’t even have a lunchroom.
Because it’s an open campus, the school was feeding about 20 breakfasts and lunches to students eligible for free/reduced meals and would typically eat them in the hallway or classroom.
A big break came when another space was found for the Jazz Band to practice, making space for the new Community Cafe.
She says all students will now have healthy options that will save them money compared to the cost of a meal at Kerrytown across the street.
“We really are striving towards equity and making things better for the kids, and not all about one section of kids,” she said, noting that those receiving free/reduced meals can now sit down and eat together
Chartwells Resident District Manager Victoria Davis said the transformation from delivered paper bag lunches to a hot food cart to the new cafeteria is an amazing improvement thanks to the support of many at AAPS.
“And so today we are serving made-to-order salads, sandwiches, pizza, sushi bowls every day,” she said.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Demetriou, “to improve the life of each student in every which way we can.”