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The Demon Tattler

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Alarm Clock Cafe Still a Great Lunchtime Option

Alarm+Clock+Cafe+Still+a+Great+Lunchtime+Option

Almost everybody has benefitted from the grand opening of the new commons … almost everybody. 

The student-run Alarm Clock Cafe has lost a huge amount of business since the flock of hungry teenagers was diverted to the new commons in early January. The cafe was left behind at the abandoned building that was once swarming with students during lunchtime. 

The cafe folks have done their best to spread the word that they are still open by posting flyers around campus and asking the front office to make daily announcements. They also plan to begin offering specials every week. 

“Some days are better than others, but we are going to continue to advertise and spread the word that we are open,” said Danielle Ortega, the education assistant who gets the Alarm Clock Cafe ready for both breakfast and lunch. 

The cafe sells hot foods such as hot dogs, baked potatoes, bagels with cream cheese, and breakfast burritos; ham/turkey croissant sandwiches and yogurt cups; snacks such as cheese sticks, chips, fruit cups, popcorn, and granola bars; desserts such as homemade cookies and brownies; and drinks such as coffee, Vitamin Water, Powerade, and water. Every item is under $5. 

The cafe is exclusively operated by the SFHS culinary department, which includes dozens of contributing students and four adult supervisors. From what they have been told, there is an area at the new commons that is supposed to be for them, but according to Ms. Ortega, “It really would take a lot of extra work to try to teach at the old building and operate the new cafe in the new commons.” 

Ms. Ortega, who has worked at Santa Fe High for six years, took over the cafe’s management position after Margaret Ortiz, who filled that role for decades, retired. “It has been a pleasure to take her place,” she said about replacing Ms. Ortiz. “I have some big shoes to fill!” 

Ms. Ortega said she loves her job and that the culinary teachers have become her second family. “All the students have been a joy to work with, and I learn new skills every day,” she said. 

The classes help cook for the cafe and make baked goods. “I supervise students when they work their Alarm Clock Cafe shifts by giving them specific tasks to do while they’re here, either at lunch or in the morning,” Ms. Ortega explained.  

Ms. Ortega is responsible for ordering all the food for the cafe and the culinary department, keeping records of their expenses and sales, and making weekly grocery trips to ensure the teachers have what they need for their classes. 

With Ms. McGee on maternity leave, the department is doing its best to attract more business to the old commons while being short a teacher. They are hoping that with ROTC eventually relocating to the old commons, they will attract more students since there will be more food options at lunch time. 

The teachers all believe that working for the Alarm Clock Cafe and participating in the culinary classes develops valuable life skills beyond high school, such as cooking, working as part of a team, cleaning, and showing up to an event. Ms. Ortega said, “We will continue to teach students how to cook and give them a feel of how it is to work in a cafe.” 

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