On any given school day morning, the line starts to form between the first two periods of the day. Students (and staff) wait in line with cash in their hands for the hit food spot at Absegami High School. The spot is the Absegami High School REACH Program’s Snack Shack. Staffed by the special education students in the REACH Program, the Snack Shack offers visitors delicious, low-priced egg sandwiches, coffee, juice, cookies, muffins and newspapers. Open from 8:30 am to 10:30 am, students flock to the Snack Shack, having begged their teachers for passes and taken orders from their friends. It’s not uncommon to see the Snack Shack room filled with students and staff each morning.
“The sausage, egg and cheese sandwiches and the bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches are fantastic - as good as you can get at Wawa or McDonald’s,” says Absegami senior Allyson Bigio. “And they’re less expensive.”
Students in the REACH program each day are given the opportunity to run what has become a very successful business. “The Snack Shack gives our REACH students an excellent opportunity to learn functional skills that are vital to independent living and in the workplace,” said Snack Shack co-managing teacher Shawn Scannell. “It also gives them the opportunity to interact with staff and students on a daily basis.”
As Absegami Special Education Supervisor Joe Sabath notes, “ Not only are the students learning practical vocational skills, they are continually exposed to their peers which is enhancing their ability to socialize properly which is truly preparing them for their future.
REACH student Frank Walker enjoys his job for several reasons: “I love working in the Snack Shack because I get to see a lot of people and we get delicious treats.” His fellow co-worker J.J. Hayes says it best: “Working in the Snack Shack allows me to meet a lot of new people and gives me a good work experience for the future."