By Jessica Wiegandt, Lord Botetourt High School
Once a month at Lord Botetourt High School, students have a unique opportunity.
Principal Janet Womack , and other various staff host a lunch for students interested in attending “The Principal’s Café.”
The activity began last year, when Womack began working at LBHS as the new principal. She originally provided a home-cooked breakfast for a few staff members at a time.
“The café was a means to learn more about the people I work with and get to know them better,” Womack said.
Now, the lunch has grown into a larger activity involving students. Little Caesars pizza provides food for the event and the administration plans the rest of the meal.
Usually the principal and vice principals attend, and sometimes other administrative staff stop by to talk to the participating students. The cafe, held once a month, lasts for an entire lunch period. Participants sign up to receive a pass to attend.
Students are allowed to sign up for the café once each school year, to provide an equal opportunity to have the experience. Womack said she wants as many different students as possible to attend through the year.
“I very much hope to continue Principal’s Café,” Womack said. “It is important to me to develop relationships with those I work with and it provides a means for open communication.”
On average, about fifteen students attend the lunch each month.
“We get to talk to Mrs. Womack about what’s going on at school and with us,” said senior Leah Harbison. “It’s a great way for her to be informed on what’s going on in the students’ lives.”
Senior Cora Anderson has not attended the Principal’s Cafe, but said she might, depending on her fellow students’ experiences at the lunch.
“It seems like a great idea making the principal feel more accessible and personable than the typical stereotypical mindset of the student/principal relationship,” Anderson said.
However, some students probably do not attend the lunches because they can’t bring their friends with them, she said.
“Its just that age-old pressure to not get friendly with the principal,” Anderson said.
Harbison said she has attended the lunch only once, but would like to go again.
“My dad taught and he didn’t do anything like this, but he always liked getting to know his students,” Harbison said. “I think that students can get a lot out of coming to the café, and so can the faculty.”
Womack said she feels the café has been a success with the students. They seem eager to attend, she said.
“Students ask when the next café is going to be, and some students that have already attended ask if they can come again,” Womack said.
Different activities and topics of conversation take place during the cafés, some of which include sports, extracurricular activities or just general socialization, Womack said, and one month, a student brought his guitar to the café and provided music during the meal.
“We talk about what the students want to talk about,” Womack said. “We have a great time getting to know our students better and hearing their perspective on school topics.”