hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

School News

October 24, 2013

Preparing for the real world

Program teaches job skills to special needs students

A typical school day for Johnny Caba includes perusing local supermarket ads for sale items that can be incorporated into meals he helps cook and sell at the City Hall Cafe.

He draws up a list of items to buy and, on Mondays, goes shopping with his teacher.

Then its back to City Hall where he and other special needs students in Haverhill High School’s Learning for Life program begin a week of cooking and serving customers ranging from members of the public to hungry city employees.

The lunch menu one week this month featured egg salad wraps, tacos, French onion soup, chicken salad wraps and tomato Florentine soup — depending on the day of the week. The breakfast menu usually features items such as toast and bagels, hot breakfast sandwiches, freshly brewed coffee, homemade muffins and breads, juices and snacks.

“I like to cook and have always wanted to be a chef,” said Caba, who is in his second year with this school-to-career transition program.

The cafe is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. during the school year and for several weeks in the summer. Students, who are supervised by site manager Theresa Diffin, prepare and serve breakfast and lunch and make sure they take good care of their customers.

“We deliver to offices in the building and we’ll even cater meetings,” Caba said. “It’s a lot of fun and I’m learning a lot about the food industry.”

Through the Learning for Life program, students like Caba, 19, are gaining real life work skills intended to help them find meaningful employment once they reach age 22 and must leave the program.

Whether they’re surrounded by books they are looking to sell in their little store in the basement of City Hall, tending to a hot pot of soup on a stove in the City Hall Cafe or stocking Hillie shirts and jerseys in the high school store, they’ve all found a little piece of work heaven.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
School News
  • Schools protect students with food allergies Posted 28 days ago
  • hunking2

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Dena Papanikolaou, a parent organizer, talks to parents packing a room to hear about a proposal for the new school to replace Hunking. This February meeting was a kickoff to their campaign. 2/6/14

    Bradford to get new school Posted 49 days ago 2 Photos
  • 140606_et_tje_havgrad_13

    Graduates applaud and cheer for their classmates.

    'Hillie Nation' celebrates the Class of 2014 Posted 49 days ago 6 Photos
  • Write Away!! Contest celebrates 23rd year Posted 49 days ago
  • 140603_HG_MSC_HUNKING

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Lisa Prendergast, left, and Melissa Seavey stand with Lisa's son John, 7, as he holds a sign in support of a new school to replace Hunking School. In the background is the Hunking.

    If voters approve, new school project starts in spring Posted 56 days ago 1 Photo
  • 140529_HG_CRU_WHITTIER_29

    CARL RUSSO/Staff photo Jonathan Maker, right, of Rowley, Whittier Regional High's valedictorian at this year's graduation ceremony, and his father, Donny Maker, a graduate of Whittier's Class of 1974, hug before the ceremony.

    Father and son graduate from Whittier 40 years apart Posted 56 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 29, 2014
  • 140522_HG_HAND_ALINA

    Courtesy photo Russian exchange student Alina Skripets, 17, plays the character Annabella in the Haverhill High School senior class production of Alfred Hitchock's "The 39 Steps." At left is senior Alex Zylkuski in the role of Richard Hannay.

    From Russia to Haverhill Posted 63 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, May 22, 2014
  • necc2

    TIM JEAN/Staff photos Hayley Carlin and Elizabeth Simpson, both of Methuen, give the thumbs up sign at the start of the graduation ceremony.

    NECC graduation generates excitement Posted 70 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, May 15, 2014
  • 140429_ET_ASW_TREE_3

    Tom Minichiello of the Haverhill Exchange Club helps the students in Judy Reilly's first-grade class sort, bag and tag pine saplings, for distribution by the club to first-graders in Haverhill, Groveland and Salem, N.H.

    Tiny trees for tiny kids Posted 77 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, May 8, 2014
  • 140502_HG_RHU_HEARTS_004

    Sacred Hearts first-grader Grace Wafford shows off her image of what she thinks she will look like at 75 years old.

    Cherishing the past, celebrating the present Posted 84 days ago 5 Photos

Photos of the Week
Stocks