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Hoover Middle's Cafe 147 Serves Up Delicious Italian Meal

Ms. Coley's classroom poses outside of Cafe 147

When the month of March arrives, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding one classroom at Hoover Middle School and a delicious yearly tradition!

Kristen Coley has been a special education teacher at Hoover Middle for eight years and for one day a year, she and her students transform their classroom into an Italian restaurant, called “Café 147, where they serve a homemade Italian meal to those who reserve a table. This year’s event took place on Thursday, March 23rd.

Joe takes an order at Cafe 147

“The support we get from our Hoover family is wonderful,” Coley said. “People are always emailing me throughout the school year saying how much they’re looking forward to this day.”

Preparations for Café 147 began at the start of March when students took a trip to Chipotle. There, they ordered food and observed how the restaurant’s workers operated – including appropriate dress, behavior, and hygiene.

Students in Ms. Coley's classroom pose for a picture

The week of the main event began with a shopping trip to buy all of the ingredients they’d need for their Italian feast, which included ziti and homemade sauce, meatballs, a salad bar, bread & butter, and cannolis. Mrs. Coley demo-cooked on Monday so the students could observe how to make all of the food, while Tuesday and Wednesday consisted of the class coming together to cook two pots of sauce and four batches of meatballs. On Thursday, the day of the meal, they made last-minute preparations and chopped all of the vegetables for the salad and made the cannoli filling. What’s really unique is that the majority of the Italian recipes are from Mrs. Coley’s family.

TaMyah takes money for Cafe 147 meal

“They love it and they really enjoy knowing everything came from Mrs. Coley’s family,” she said. “We also have to taste test in the process and look forward to enjoying the meal together.”

On the day of Café 147’s operation, each student in Mrs. Coley’s classroom had a job. Her class is a little small this year with only four students and one Big Picture intern, but they were able to make sure everything ran smoothly. Joe was the order taker, TaMyah was the cashier, Caiden was the cook/floater, while Jordan was the table busser.

Mr. Cimato and Mr. Chimera pose with their meals

“The amount of laughing we do the whole week just shows pure happiness,” Coley said. “From this experience, they get communication skills, learn how to work with others, and collaborate. Most importantly, they get job-experience, which is the main goal of this whole thing.”

Many of the Café’s guests included the students’ parents, Hoover teachers, administrators, and other Ken-Ton School District employees.

Ms. Thomas and Ms. Jaros pose with their Italian meals