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
  • 140415_HG_MSC_ROBOT_4

    MARY SCHWALM/Staff photo Jazzy Brown, 4, of Haverhill, works with a a Robot named Connor as Behavior Specialist Julie Bernier looks on, during an interactive session at the Moody School in Haverhill.

    Their best friend's a robot Posted 3 days ago 5 Photos
  • City's kids are staying in school Posted 38 days ago
  • 140310_ET_RHU_SCOUTS_003

    Bill Cantwell, Haverhill editor of The Eagle-Tribune and editor of The Haverhill Gazette, shows the Cub Scouts of Den 6 Pack 24, Sacred Hearts Parish, Bradford, around the newsroom of The Eagle-Tribune offices and explains how the newspaper is put together. RYAN HUTTON/ Staff photo

    'Cub' reporters learn how the newsroom works Posted 38 days ago 3 Photos
  • Work on new school escalates Posted 45 days ago
  • 140303_ET_RHU_SEUSS_006

    First-graders Ainsley Rousseau, left, and Isabelle Leger, both 7, eat their plates of green eggs and ham and cake.

    A taste of green eggs and ham Posted 45 days ago 6 Photos
  • Thursday, February 27, 2014
  • 140212_ET_RHU_ROBOT_002

    RYAN HUTTON/Staff photo Nicholas Berube, left, 14, fits a plexiglass cover over the electronics of the Whittier team's robot as teammate Grant Montecalro, 15, looks on.

    A boost from NASA Posted 52 days ago 4 Photos
  • Thursday, February 20, 2014
  • 140213_HG_HAND_SEYMOUR_1

    Courtesy photo Whittier Regional High junior Kylie Seymour carries the American flag during the Parade of Nations at the annual World Tap Championships in Germany.

    She's got the beat! Posted 59 days ago 3 Photos
  • NECC employees honored for service Posted 59 days ago
  • 140213_hg_hand_augusto

    HANDOUT PHOTO Northern Essex Community College student Angel Augusto shows his Class of 2014 T-shirt design that won a contest at the school.

    Meet a graduating 'super hero' Posted 59 days ago 1 Photo
  • Thursday, February 13, 2014
  • 140206_HG_MSC_NETTLE_2

    Nettle School teacher Michelle Joubert shows off her classroom, which is a freshly painted.

    12 years old, but just like new Posted 66 days ago 2 Photos

Photos of the Week