Students open The Kennel Café for Martinsville Middle School teachers

Published: Oct. 12, 2023 at 5:00 PM EDT
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MARTINSVILLE, Va. (WDBJ) - Students are giving back to their teachers while learning how to operate a business.

Now at Martinsville Middle School - when you need a break, The Kennel is always awake. That’s the slogan for the new student-run café inside the home of the Bulldogs.

The Kennel was created by Martinsville High School Career and Technical Education students.

“I really like that I get to serve the teachers that usually serve me,” said Bridgette Brent, 7th grader. “So, it’s kind of a good way for me to know my teachers better, too.”

Teachers can visit The Kennel to relax between classes with couches, soft music, and string lights.

“You need teachers that are in a nice headspace and not stressed out so they can pour good into your children while they are here,” said Monica Watkins, 12th grade Martinsville High School student. “This gives them the opportunity to rewind and refresh before going back to another class.”

They can also purchase food and drinks like breakfast sandwiches, smoothies, coffee, bagels and more.

“I think often, most teachers get stressed out by the kids that they have. So, I think it’s good for them to have a place to calm down and rest,” added Brent.

The students take turns running the café throughout the school day.

“It gives me practice with customer service, having a nice spirit when people come and see me, and making people feel welcomed. It will help me if I want to get a job while I’m still in school doing fast food or at a grocery store,” explained Watkins.

The Martinsville Chamber of Commerce, the Mayor and the Superintendent joined the students for the grand opening.

“This is one of the things that we want in portrait of a graduate,” said Zebedee Talley Jr., Martinsville City Public Schools Superintendent. “We want them to be able to communicate and work together. It’s going to take collaboration. This is a hands-on opportunity and a real life experience.”

The superintendent hopes to expand the student-run business to all of the schools in the city.