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Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Marcus High School's Online Newspaper

The Marquee

Main Campus cafe return after COVID, staffing closure

Students purchase coffee from cafeteria managers Kelly Gray and Jesse Rains at the main campus coffee stand. Photo Jayni Gogineni

The main campus café stand, Java City, reopened on Jan. 9 now that the cafeteria is more fully staffed after the pandemic. M9 reopened the café stand in November, and it was met with a high demand. Long lines have formed at the freshman campus for treats such as fresh coffee, smoothies, baked goods and fruits.


The cafés on both campuses were originally shut down during the COVID-19 time period due to a lack of available workers.


“We were down to seven,” cafeteria manager Kelly Gray said. “I did a lot during the pandemic time, and every school is affected.”


LISD has hosted job fairs and advertised their staffing opportunities on social media to attract more individuals because the number of staff still hasn’t recovered completely since COVID-19.


Cafeteria workers were given a pay raise for the 2022-2023 school year, increasing the salaries of current employees and new employees. According to M9 Assistant Principal Amy Payne, the school now has adequate cafeteria staffing, so the decision was made to reopen Java City.


The café is open in the mornings before school and during lunch periods. The menu offers a variety of coffees, teas and smoothies in the drinks section. For snacks, the café has fruit cups, cookies, bagels and muffins. Java City offers students a more diverse selection compared to what is served in the regular lunch lines.

[The cafe] still serves within the nutritional guidelines, but it allows for more options.

— Amy Payne, M9 Assistant Principal

“Some students maybe have an aversion to some of the things or are done with redundancy,” Payne said. “It’s been real popular with our students ever since it opened.”


Zulmma Davalos is one of the main cafeteria workers that runs the café, and she said another reason for the café coming back was the high interest from students. 


Freshman Paola Jones stops by the café often and enjoys its options. 


“I definitely use it more than I should,” Jones said. “It’s a pretty good variety.”


The café’s goods are set at similar prices to a meal in the cafeteria, so students often buy from one or both.


“Honestly, I think it has a positive impact,” Payne said. “[The café] still serves within the nutritional guidelines, but it allows for more options.”


Payne said the café was introduced to M9 first because of its smaller population that is easier to manage. In order to offer these new options to all students, the school brought the café to the main campus as well. 


Students on the main campus, such as sophomore Nima Sherpa, are glad the café is finally open. 


“I don’t want to walk all the way to M9 for a cup of coffee,” Sherpa said. “I want my coffee as soon as possible.”


For the first few days, the café will be serving mainly drinks, like coffees and smoothies. The stand will accept money from a student’s lunch account or cash. 


The increase in staffing has helped reintroduce programs to students and is bringing the school back to normal.


 “The nutrition staff at LISD felt it was very important to allow the students to have choices,” Payne said. “We’ve always been advocates for it.”

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Raksha Jayakumar
Raksha Jayakumar, Managing Editor
Raksha (she/her) is excited for her second year on staff as Managing Editor! She is a huge swiftie, meaning she has good taste (reputation is top-tier). She loves everybody on staff and is super duper excited to work with them all. <3 

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