Students, staff give two thumbs up to new SHHS kitchen, cafe

Alex Paul

At first, they trickled in, one or two at a time, but within minutes, it was a full blown crowd, quickly picking op trays of pizza and fries, a sub sandwich or Mexican enchiladas.

In 20 minutes, the Sweet Home High School cafeteria staff had dished out lunch to several hundred students and staff members and were now clearing tables and food bins.

“It’s great,” said staff member Sandy Seiber, who has worked at the cafeteria since 1988. “Once the kids figured out how the student ID card works in the scanner, everything began working great.”

No cash is accepted at the cafeteria. Students use their student ID cards, complete with magnetic strip, to buy lunch. Parents pay to replenish funds, much like recharging a prepaid phone card.

The result is greatly reduced waiting periods for those in line, since students don’t have to fumble for money and staff members don’t have to make change.

The new kitchen and cafeteria comes after a hectic year when meal staff members worked out of the Foster Elementary kitchen…for the entire district.

Modern, stainless steel equipment makes the kitchen gleam and cuts down on prep time for staff members.

Millie Bostrom succeeds Pam Lessley as food services director, coming to the school district from a successful stint at Wiley Creek Community.

The new cafeteria and menus are a hit with students. The dining room seats 500 and features a combination of large round tables with attached seats, plus individual tables with chairs.

The north wall of the complex is filled with large, very large, windows that allows a good view of the outdoors.

Students eating at the high school Friday were universally pleased with the system.

“I like the fact that we get really big portions,” said 14-year-old cross country runner Dallin Holden. “They won’t let me buy two lunches at a time, yet.”

Joe McCaslin said he likes the chicken sandwiches best and enjoys the variety of meals and soft drinks available.

“It’s the best deal in town,” said Steven Jones, “For just $2 we get a full course meal and it’s like eating in a regular restaurant. I can sit with my friends and we have a great view.”

Ben Brewer was especially pleased with Friday’s menu because he likes Mexican food and could pick the enchilada entree.

In addition to the new cafeteria, students can order specialty sandwiches and salads to be picked up at a kiosk over the lunch hour.

Teacher and wrestling coach Steve Thorpe said he likes being able to order a salad for lunch and can pick it up quickly.

A new student store offers a variety of items, including Stephen Hall’s favorite, hot bread and cheese.

“The student store is awesome,” Hall said. “It lets us mix things up some.”