Intern students at Salina South High School kicked off a soft opening of their school cafe this week.
“Common Grounds” is run by students from the Salina South Culinary Arts program. part of a larger program that offers three levels of courses for students to learn cooking skills, the cafe is run by students of the most advanced course – cooking professionals.
Students, teachers and staff can buy drinks from the shop from 1pm to 3.30pm on weekdays, starting this week.
Linda Edson, culinary arts teacher at Salina South, said the cafe helps students learn barista skills, as well as maintain good customer service and clean workstations.
“When they’re senior, they can do this one-year internship,” Edson said. “And with this cafe, there’s now an option for kids who can’t afford to go off campus for internships.”
The one-year internship allows students in the upper class to gain professional experience in the kitchen during their secondary studies. Previously, these interns worked for a local restaurant, but Salina South struggled to find restaurants to accommodate this. They can’t pay their interns, and restaurants generally don’t want anyone working without being paid.
Last year, Edson had nine interns, and this year she has 22. Of the 22 interns, 20 will help run Common Grounds this year, while two have set up off-campus internships.
While the cooking classes last only one semester, the internship lasts a full year.
Proceeds from Common Grounds will support the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America group in Salina South.
Juniors Martiza Castro, 17, and Zoe Veliloff, 18, said they were excited to start serving people coffee.
“I just think it’s a cool thing to have in a school, you know, (students) seem to care,” Castro said.
Edson said the internship portion of the culinary arts program is a culmination of the skills students have learned from previous courses to get there.
“I really enjoy helping them get out of their comfort zone,” Edson said. “I feel like I’m arming them with something, you know, it’s so tangible. Some of them come to my class just to fill their schedule, and sometimes they end up loving it so much, they go all the way and they do an internship. It always makes me happy.