PHS students appreciate $175k cafeteria upgrades

Ninth-grader Eden Gyen, gets a cup of coffee before her first class of the day.

Ninth-grader Eden Gyen, gets a cup of coffee before her first class of the day.

By Briana Harris / Staff Writer

PELHAM – When Pelham High School students returned from summer break they were pleasantly surprised by a renovated cafeteria.

Child Nutrition Program Director Grace Perry said the school system invested $175,000 to update the cafeteria. The biggest change, and perhaps the change that students appreciate most, is the addition of the Panther Lounge.

A part of the serving area was used to make room for the lounge, which seats 25 students and is equipped with hot and frozen coffee, electrical outlets and big comfortable chairs.

Before classes start in the morning, the lounge serves breakfast and at lunch it’s the ideal stop for students in need of grab-and-go food, like sandwiches, salads, fruit cups, yogurt parfaits and fruit smoothies.

“I love that we have coffee and I really like the charging stations because you can charge your phone or study notes on you computer if you want to,” said 11th grader Chanda Nguyen. “If you want to keep to yourself you actually have a place to go.”

Twelfth-grader Vidal Solito said he likes the lounge because it gives him and his friends a spot to hang out before school.

“Last year we would just hang out in the hallway by our locker and talk, but now we have a place that we can go,” Solito said.

Like Nguyen, Solito’s favorite part of the lounge is the electrical outlets.

“Sometimes I plan to get here earlier and I plug up my iPad and do school work,” Solito said. “They really did do a good job with it. I’m glad they did it my senior year and not after I left.”

New tables and restaurant style booths were also installed in the large dining area of the cafeteria.

“We decided to install the restaurant style booths to make it more of a modern atmosphere,” Perry said. “The kids are really enjoying it.”

Nguyen said the new tables and booths offer more privacy for students.

“With the long tables with the small round seat, we were cramped on top of each other and it gets awkward especially when you don’t know the person,” she said. “There’s definitely more room for everyone to sit.”

Perry said it took the entire summer to compete the project.