Students open breakfast bistro at Washougal High

The student-operated Panther Cafe breakfast bistro opened to staff members and pupils at Washougal High School’s Excelsior building on Feb. 22.

The cafe is the latest product of the Washougal School District career and technical education’s (CTE) latest worksite learning program, which provides students with on-the-job experience while earning school credits.

“The students that are involved are very excited,” said Margaret Rice, the district’s CTE director. “They’re helping to develop what this is going to look like and what it’s going to entail. Our students will leave this experience well trained. They will be ready to be hired at any of our local coffee shops, cafes or restaurants. Their skills will transfer to many other job opportunities as well, and we are thrilled to help them get their start.”

The bistro is a student-created endeavor, but it has also received plenty of support from staff members such as Washougal High worksite learning coordinator Kathy Scobba, who worked with students to fill out required paperwork; lead cook Jacey Godinez and CTE professional technical advisor Alex Yost, who taught the students how to manage the day-to-day operations of a restaurant; and culinary services office manager Sheri Cranford, who educated the students about the regulations and challenges that are associated with running a federal nutrition program.

Corey Schmidt, owner of Vancouver-based 9 Bar Espresso, also lent his expertise to the project by training the students on their barista skills.

The Panthers’ Caf? is open from 7:15 to 7:40 a.m. on weekdays.

“That is the way our culinary programs are continuing to innovate, inspire and offer engaging learning and dining experiences for our students,” WSD Superintendent Templeton stated in a recent blog post. “This is amazing work that offers our students a real-world experience for learning and provides the ‘nurturing’ hub for students and staff.”