• 43°

‘Cool Kids’ get taste of working world

Third-graders at Brookhaven Elementary are enjoying their firsttaste of being in the labor force as they treat diners at the CoolKids Cafe to a traditional lunch.

The diner opened Tuesday and will remain open through Fridaywith seatings at 11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.

“I think it’s really challenging but a lot of fun,” said ZachWilson. “It’s challenging because we’re trying our hardest outthere – rain or sun – we’re doing our best.”

This is the ninth year for Brookhaven Elementary’s Cool KidsCafe, where third-graders in Betty Ann Williams’ and Tina Morgan’sclasses seat customers, take orders, deliver meals and clean upafter their guests as a fund-raiser for Blair E. Batson’sChildren’s Hospital in Jackson.

The event raised approximately $1,700 last year.

Sharletha Gayten took advantage of the event to eat lunch withher daughter Rayshelle, a fourth-grader at the school. The lunchwas a special time for her, she said, because she was able to spendquality time alone with her daughter.

“She has a younger brother and a younger sister, so we don’t getto do as much by ourselves anymore,” Sharletha said.

Rayshelle, who participated in the event last year, also feltthe lunch was special and said she enjoyed eating the cafe.

“It’s real cool,” she said. “I like the waitresses and eatingoutside.”

Denise Thompson said she planned to make a repeat visit todayand eat again with her son and a nephew, who are students atBrookhaven Elementary.

“I think it’s great for the kids – a good way to learn,” shesaid, adding she also enjoys the time with her loved ones.

Diners Don and Mary Hemphill said they have attended six orseven of the nine Cool Kids Cafe events.

“He just likes to come back home,” Mary teased her husband, whowas principal at Brookhaven Elementary for several years before heretired in 1985. “I like this. It’s a fun thing every year.”

Third-grade servers Ben Stroud, Brett Spring and Elizabeth Greenagreed the event was “a lot of hard work” but also fun.

“It’s really fun and it helps the children’s hospital inJackson,” Spring said.

Green said she likes the event because there’s no math and “youget to do a lot of stuff. It’s pretty easy, too. This is my firsttime doing it. I like it.”

Karishma Patel would disagree with Green about the math. Sheworked at the register, taking payment for diners’ orders ofchicken, sandwiches, hamburgers or hot dogs.

Sylvia Campbell, a former math teacher, volunteered to assistPatel.

“I just double-check her math. She does all the work,” Campbellsaid.

Volunteers, mostly family members of students, prepare the foodand help supervise the cafe.

Teacher Morgan, who helped organize the event, was pleased withthe first day’s turnout and encouraged interested diners to makereservations, although walk-ins will be accepted if availabilitypermits.

“This, being the first day, is the busiest we’ve ever been,” shesaid. “We’re full. We’ve had to turn people away.”

Openings are still available at most meals, she said, butseating is limited. Reservations may be made by calling the schoolat 833-3139.