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The Camasonian

Unpacking the Lunchbox

The+Lunchbox+sign
The Lunchbox sign

Camas High School (CHS) students often pass the Lunchbox while walking through the Main Commons, though most do not know what happens behind the scenes. Past the counter, marketing and DECA students gain valuable work experience while bonding and having fun.

“The Lunchbox is a student-run, school-based enterprise where students get hands-on experience on customer service, cash handling, food prep and running an actual food store. More than that, it’s a resource for DECA students. The proceeds that we raise from the store help us with travel costs for state and international competitions,” DECA advisor Suzie Downs said.

The Lunchbox was established to allow marketing students to gain expertise in marketing and retail. CHS junior Lauren Mitchell feels that working at the Lunchbox helps benefit her education, bringing fun and unique experiences to learning.

“[The Lunchbox allows kids to] get job experience with things like making drinks, dealing with customers, and being a cashier,” Mitchell said.

The Lunchbox 2.0’s “coming soon” sign

Beyond the essential work experiences, the Lunchbox is starting a new chapter this year with the Lunchbox 2.0, which will open soon. The Lunchbox 2.0 started as a more undersized stand used to help special education students gain hands-on experience but will quickly move into the IQ Credit Union (IQCU) storefront on a much larger scale.

“There will be retail merchandise that students and staff can purchase during lunch, and [special education] students will be working out of there also,” Downs said.

The path to opening the Lunchbox 2.0 has been a team effort beyond DECA.

“Originally, we created some merch that our kids designed and we put it in our store. Then, Boosters was doing pop-ups in [the IQCU storefront], so I talked to admin and decided we could work as a team and [sell] all their merchandise along with the stuff we created. Boosters agreed upon it, so we’ll actually run that retail outlet,” Downs said.

CHS Main Commons packed with students, courtesy of CHS Yearbook

This year’s other updates to the Lunchbox include “new sales” and “changed prices on products,” according to CHS sophomore Lunchbox employee Akhila Pattamatta. Mitchell mentioned new offerings like “sugar cookies, more flavors of Sparkling Ice, freeze-dried apples, fig bars and some other packaged treats.”

“[Students can] expect more exciting Jo-Yo flavors and different holiday drinks in the future,” Mitchell said.

This school year has been Pattamatta’s first year working at the student store, and she loves the experience.

“I didn’t know anyone when I joined the Lunchbox team this year, but getting to know everyone has been really fun, especially because it’s smaller than your typical class,” Pattamatta said.

Mitchell, a Lunchbox employee of two years, agreed the smaller class size is a benefit.

Something unique about the Lunchbox is, since it’s such a small class, you get to know everyone really well. Instead of feeling like another random class, it feels like a family,” Mitchell said.

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Sophie Jacobs, Staff Writer

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