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Grand Opening: South 2nd Grade Restaurant

When Payton Shelor was in the second grade at South Elementary, she learned the importance of customer service, social skills, teamwork, time management and budgeting while participating in the Second Grade Restaurant. 

Now, as a second grade teacher at South Elementary, she’s teaching her students those very same skills as students held the Grand Opening of their Second Grade Restaurant on April 16 for staff, their families and the community. 

“I was in my own second grade restaurant in 2007 as a student in Ms. Manes’ class at South Elementary,” Shelor said. “I remember being so excited to open our restaurant, and I felt like I was a big deal. Every time my family went to a restaurant, I would always say, ‘hey, I ran one of those myself.’”

Everett Chapman, a student in Shelor’s class who worked as a kitchen manager, said he woke up excited for the day.

“I had lots of fun today because I got to make food and then eat it. Restaurants take a lot of work.”
- Everett Chapman, South 2nd Grader

“I was like, ‘this is the big day where I get to boss people around,’” Everett said with a big smile, adding that his favorite part of the day was serving others. “I had lots of fun today because I got to make food and then eat it. Restaurants take a lot of work.”

Second grade teacher Genevieve Heath said the restaurant is part of the students’ economics unit and gives them hands-on, real-world experience. Leading up to the grand opening, students worked hard at planning the restaurant’s needs, menu and jobs, applied for a loan, applied for jobs in the restaurant, and then started job training. 

“My favorite part is seeing the students’ pride in themselves, realizing that they are capable of doing big things,” Heath said. “A motto we have up in our classrooms is ‘Believe in the Power of Yet.’ I think the students running this restaurant is a tangible embodiment of that sentiment. When first introduced, they do not believe this is something they can accomplish. But as we practice and work, it becomes attainable. Finally, they see all their work come to fruition and it boosts their confidence.”

Shelor said she always knew she wanted to be a teacher, as teachers made such an impact on her life growing up. And, she is glad to bring something she enjoyed so much as a student, to her students. 

“Being in this restaurant project as a second grader in 2007 and now being on the opposite side as a teacher is extremely fulfilling and a full-circle moment that I look forward to every year,” she said. 

Photo college of South 2nd graders at restaurant