Culinary Arts’ Eagle Café Deserves Nest On Campus

The Eagle’s Nest Café was a culinary haven for the masses of tired and hungry students for 11 years. For the culinary students behind the counter, the café represented an opportunity to gain experience into an exciting career. But now, the Eagle’s Nest Café is but a distant memory in the minds of students with growling bellies and culinary kids whose fingers ache with the desire to cook.

According to Principal Wynne Satterwhite, the Eagle’s Nest Café was shut down because it diverts money from the district’s food service program. According to a state mandate, this is unacceptable. Although the café many slightly reduce the district’s sales, that cost is offset by the benefit it provides to culinary students.

The Eagle’s Nest Café was the jewel of the culinary program—it allowed students to gain real life experience by running a restaurant, an invaluable skill for students planning to join the culinary industry. The Eagle’s Nest Café made a good program fantastic—taking it away is comparable to eliminating AP courses at this school.

Furthermore, removing the café limits the education that enrolled students are receiving.

Culinary is part of the regional occupational program (ROP). ROP classes are supposed to prepare students for future careers. But how can it do this if it cannot allow them a restaurant experience?

This school’s vision statement says that the school is “committed to the … application of knowledge.” This district should follow this message, keeping in mind a full education is not simply an academic one.

For Culinary Arts students, removing the chance to sell food in a restaurant severely limits the benefits they should receive from an ROP class. After all, someone who has knowledge selling food is much more appealing to a prospective employer than someone who has none.

Additionally, because culinary classes no longer cook for the café, they do not have enough to do. Because of this, Culinary Arts teacher Betty Ewing now teaches three classes instead of four. This means that around 20 students are not getting any chance at all to experience a culinary career.

The state should evaluate the message it is currently sending to students—that education is only important when it does not interfere with the district’s finances.

Perhaps the state should take a look at the vision statement this school’s students are required to know and start “promoting a community in which members have an equal opportunity to excel as people and learners”—or a community in which culinary students are free to operate the Eagle’s Nest Café.