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Middle school students prepare, serve breakfast to senior citizens

| Monday, April 11, 2016, 1:57 p.m.
Hampton Middle School eighth-grader J.T. Ebert reaches for a fruit cup to serve to a customer during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The free breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to Hampton Township senior citizens.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Hampton Middle School eighth-grader J.T. Ebert reaches for a fruit cup to serve to a customer during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The free breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to Hampton Township senior citizens.
Seen through the Breakfast Cafe window, Hampton Middle School eighth-grader Jaidyn Lange takes an order during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The annual breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Seen through the Breakfast Cafe window, Hampton Middle School eighth-grader Jaidyn Lange takes an order during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The annual breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.
Hampton Middle School eighth-graders Lindsey Fortes (in yellow) and Julie Bamrick work alongside teacher Glenn Geary to plate food during the annual Swing Into Spring Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The free breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Hampton Middle School eighth-graders Lindsey Fortes (in yellow) and Julie Bamrick work alongside teacher Glenn Geary to plate food during the annual Swing Into Spring Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The free breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.
Hampton Middle School eighth-grader Jaidyn Lange pours a cup of orange juice during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The annual breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Hampton Middle School eighth-grader Jaidyn Lange pours a cup of orange juice during the annual Swing Into Spring Senior Citizens Breakfast at the school Friday, April 8, 2016. The annual breakfast, prepared and served by students, was open to all Hampton Township senior citizens.

Hampton Middle School eighth-graders culminated a career awareness course by serving senior citizens breakfast in the school's cafeteria.

During the “Swing Into Spring” event on April 8, students either worked in the front of the house as hosts, servers and cleaners, or in the back as chefs and expeditors.

“We've been cooking every single thing that would be on the menu just to test it out and to see if we want to be working in the kitchen or as a server,” said Juliana Oliveira, 14, who wants to use her experience to gain a Bruster's Real Ice Cream or Cold Stone Creamery job.

Afterward, teachers Glenn Geary and Susan Perry interviewed the 43 teenagers for their desired positions.

“They mainly asked us questions about the qualities we had that would make us successful in the jobs we had chosen,” said Lindsey Fortes, 14.

Approximately 100 guests arrived in spurts, “just like at a real restaurant,” according to Principal Eric Stennett.

Florine Newcamp, 85, Jack Winschel, 88, and Alex, 74, and Debbie Howson, 73, attended with the AARP Allison Park chapter.

“We missed one year because I neglected to call and make a reservation. Otherwise, we would have been here every year,” said Debbie Howson, regarding the seventh annual event.

Metz Culinary Services, Hampton's food provider, donated items used in banana muffins, breakfast scrambles, cheese omelets, ham-and-cheese omelets, French toast and fruit cups. The students prepared the food in the family and consumer sciences kitchen and kept it warm in the cafeteria.

“The food is good, and it's nice to just sit here,” said Alex Howson. “We're treated very well. The kids do a super job.”

Ben Ringeisen, 14, said giving back to the senior citizens meant a great deal to him.

Oliveira said the guests probably would “get a kick out of the students serving them, acting like it's a real restaurant.”

Renee Michalowski, administrative assistant, led a bingo game featuring restaurant gift cards as prizes. Later, the school's jazz band, chamber orchestra and chorus performed classics in the auditorium.

The course is one of five rotations.

Students in the computer applications rotation designed the menus displaying ‘50s iconography and brochures featuring retro advertisements and word search puzzles. Meanwhile, students taking an architectural engineering rotation constructed a wooden façade welcoming guests to the dining area.

“We try to connect everything throughout the year. It helps develop critical thinking and prepares them for the career world,” said Stennett.

Erica Cebzanov is a contributing writer for the Tribune-Review.

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