The Senior Cafe is Back!

Seniors hope to build a strong community with the return of the Senior Cafe

Jada Thielen, Staff Writer

A major step toward returning to pre-pandemic routines was initiated at Scituate High School when the Senior Cafe reopened in mid-October. Fostering unity, inclusion, and school spirit, the Senior Cafe has been a place for seniors to work and enjoy their final year of high school together. Students and faculty members are thrilled to see this October surprise bring cherished traditions back to SHS. 

Prior to social distancing and hybrid learning, a portion of the Scituate High School cafeteria was dedicated specifically to seniors. However, in order to protect the health and safety of students, the Senior Cafe was closed during the 2020-2021 academic year. A satellite cafeteria was assembled in the small gym, and all the cafeteria spaces were reorganized with individual student tables instead of large, round, family-style tables.

According to Assistant Principal Karen Hughes, once the recent decision was made to reopen the SHS cafeteria to full capacity, reopening the Senior Cafe was a natural next step: “Once we put the tables out, the senior cafe was ready to go. But we felt it was still too small to house everyone. We wanted it to feel inclusive,” explained Hughes.

Thanks to Hughes and the rest of the administration, this problem was solved with an excellent solution: “We worked on opening up the PAC (Performing Arts Center) lobby area as an extension of the Senior Cafe,” said Hughes. The PAC lobby has also been used for studies, lunches, and, more recently, H blocks. This space provides an enjoyable, comfortable atmosphere with a “college theme,” as Hughes describes–an atmosphere similar to a college or university. Hughes characterizes the PAC lobby as a “pleasant environment.”

As captain of the SHS cheerleading squad, senior Signe Tobin knows what school spirit looks like, and she is happy to “take advantage of the time that is slowly coming to an end.” Another senior, Bridget Stone, spends her studies and lunches in the Senior Cafe and PAC lobby. She has ideas about how to make the environment even more school spirited–by adding student artwork and a display of pictures of the senior class. Stone also has a lofty desire to advocate for a senior class pet, possibly a fish, which would require administration approval. SHS paraprofessional Judith Leahy, who frequently supervises the seniors, said, “Sometimes we don’t get to see this in other areas of the school,” referring to the community spirit evident in the Senior Cafe and PAC lobby.

These new developments have prompted some students to ask a question: Are these areas for seniors a privilege or a right? Hughes states that the administration is looking for ways to “hold students accountable” if they do not complete their responsibilities as students and learners. Hughes explained, “The seniors asked for certain things, and we were able to meet most of them.” She appreciates the senior class members’ desire to build a strong sense of school spirit. Ultimately, designating spaces within the school that are exclusively for seniors allows the Class of 2022 to build a stronger community and finish out their high school years with positive experiences.