SWHS sandwich shop teaches students about world of work
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 27, 2014 1:46 PM
Southern Wayne High School senior Seth Buff delivers a bag lunch to teacher Jenny Crumpler for the Saints Sandwich Shop. The program raises money for field trips and community service efforts while giving life skill students experience in the business side of food preparation.
More than any other lesson plan she creates, Judy Moody believes in teaching her students character.
Even in something as simple as making a sandwich.
The "Life Skills" teacher in the Exceptional Children program at Southern Wayne High School works with 13 students in grades 9-12 who have a variety of disabilities.
Except for a smattering of electives, like physical education and art, her students are in her care the entire school day.
"Life Skills" for them, she said, entails "simple cooking. We learn how to make sandwiches, because some of the kids, some of the places they'll work they have to take their lunches."
They also are taught how to wash dishes, fold laundry and make change.
Because the students tend to be the beneficiaries of things given to them, Mrs. Moody has worked hard to instill an appreciation for serving and giving back.
Some of the projects she has involved them in include a toy drive last year. This year, students were allowed to purchase and distribute gifts to more than a dozen residents at a nursing home.
"They had a ball doing that shopping," she said, noting that none of the students even mentioned buying something for themselves.
"With my grade-level students, they become very compassionate," she said.
In coming up with a way to raise money for field trips and support efforts to do more projects in the community, Mrs. Moody introduced an idea this past school year that was well-received by both her students and teachers at the school.
"Saints Sandwich Shop" started out as a Friday lunch option for teachers and staff. They could place orders for reasonably priced menu items that included burgers and hot dogs, chicken salad and chef salad.
"When we started doing it, it was only on Fridays," Mrs. Moody said. "But several teachers asked if I would consider doing salads on a daily basis. So now we do salads every day. On Friday, we have BLTs, hot dogs, chicken salad, cheeseburgers."
Staff submit their orders in advance, in writing or online, indicating what time they need it delivered.
"I have not had any complaints," Mrs. Moody said with a smile. "And they love my students. I have two students that really help me more than anybody else, deliver for me, fix the tea, bag the items.
"I do the food preparation myself. They'll bring back the money and give change."
The students have also benefited from the experience, she said.
"They love it. They really have enjoyed it because the guys that do it are very sociable," she said. "I think just letting them be out in the public more, with other kids in the school, it gives them confidence.
"And these boys that do the deliveries, they feel like they help folks that they deliver to."
Friday is an especially busy day for the educator. In addition to her teaching duties, she spends most mornings getting ready for the lunchtime delivery.
"We do about a dozen salads per day," she said. "Most time it's eight to a dozen, and on Fridays we usually do close to $100 worth of stuff."
Considering the cheapest item is a hot dog, which costs $1.25, with burgers and cheeseburgers selling for $2.75 each, a chef salad for $3 and chicken salad cold plate for $3.75, that's an impressive take.
Mrs. Moody usually pays for all the supplies herself and gets reimbursed. Whatever is left over is turned in to the school bookkeeper and deposited into the program's account.
"We use it for field trips. Sometimes we pay for lunch or provide lunch (for the students), gas for the bus," she explained. "We had our little account up to $4,000 at Christmas. Of course, some of that was from the previous year."
In the spring, she'll turn the tables and do something special for those in her class.
"I'll fix them a fried chicken dinner, because it's tough on them smelling all the food (that goes out the door)," she said. "I try to reward them, too."
She is hinting at retirement in the next couple of years, but in the meantime hopes to continue the sandwich shop. She says she appreciates the students she gets to work with in the program.
"I think everything's going well. I think the kids are enjoying it. They're certainly enjoying the things we get to do with the money. I'm just happy it's turned out as well as it did," she said.
"It's really fulfilling for me, because not only have I gotten to see them grow socially. I have gotten to see them develop their academic skills and life skills."