Pantry Raider

This article was written my Lei DeGroot, a sophomore in the journalism class here at U32. 


Have you ever needed something and a teacher wouldn’t give it to you? You’re in luck, the U-32 Middle & High School Council is opening up a school store available for all high schoolers. The creation of the store has had many setbacks, but the store will be coming soon. “Our biggest hurdle has been with the administration, and we’ve been getting mixed signals from a lot of different administration members,” said Lucy Drury, a council member leading the charge to open the store. Lucy added that the administration has spoken about differing regulations on what the store can carry. 


(Ticonderoga Pencils: Lei DeGroot/U-32 Chronicle)


The store will have items available such as pens and pencils, notebooks, erasers and other necessary school supplies. It will also carry food and drinks so that students can get their fixings when the cafeteria may not be open.


Any products sold on school premises during school hours are required to follow guidelines outlined by the FDA and USDA. “All the food is FDA compliant, which is the same rule that the cafeteria follows,” said Lucy. Some of these products are Chex-mix, Clif Bars, Triscuits, crackers and drink products such as Vitamin Waters and Seltzers. These items were selected through student and teacher opinion.  


“Despite those hurdles, I feel like…we’re really close,” said Lucy. She believes that the council could open it up in just a few weeks from now. 


Thomas Russell, a Sophomore at U-32 thought an in-school store would be beneficial, “I think that sounds pretty cool. I think it might be helpful for some people, although it can’t be overpriced.” He also cited that his teachers wouldn’t give him the things he needed, “she [Thomas’ teacher] won’t give you pencils or erasers or you have to get your own stuff,” said Thomas.


The student council is not looking to make a large profit through the business, however they want to be able to reinvest and fund other projects. “The prices are as low as they can be, where we are making a safe amount of money to reinvest,” Lucy said, “But I would also include that you actually expand accessibility through time.” 


Concerns over pricing have been on top of people’s minds, theorizing that if costs are too high, the snacks won’t be accessible to everyone. “Is it cost prohibitive? Yes, but right now any sort of snack is time prohibitive. So there’s other ways to look at accessibility that I would encourage people to consider,” said Kevin Richards, a U-32 social studies teacher and student council advisor. The store could possibly be a way for students to get a midday snack fix, but some may not be able to afford the products that the store carries. 


(Kevin Richards at the front doors of U-32, Lei DeGroot/U-32 Chronicle)


Support for the store has been granted by advisers, “I think it’s a great idea. I personally love the fact that it’s been really student driven,” said Richards. “I love the idea of students getting involved in that regard. I think it’s something that kids would like and I don’t know if they need it, but it will definitely boost morale or student enjoyment.”


The store is coming soon according to the student council. However, Financial Lit, Community Based Learning, and INC/business teacher George Cook has questions about its functionality.“I think the issues may be staffing it, another thing I would recommend is [planning for] turnover of the seniors who are leaving. Always have a long term plan so that underclassmen, in the following years, can take on leadership roles in the operation of the store,” said Cook.


George has concerns over the time commitment and what that may entail after the summer, “It’s a commitment and people need to understand that you can’t start something like this and then just drop it,” said George. “I would basically work to make sure that you have a group of people that would continue this, years down the road.”


(Plastic carts for the school store, Lei DeGroot/U-32 Chronicle)


The question remains, what is the best way to market the store? “Social media is huge, word of mouth is huge,” said George. “Carrying products or providing services that are kind of cool, or with it, items that the students want.”


The name of the store, according to Kevin, stems from the common occurrence of students coming back from college and  “raiding the pantry.” Also, it echoes the U-32 “raider” moniker that defines U-32 in a way. 

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