Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

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OrganicLife proposes two plans for Central coffee shop to be ready by next school year

The+currently-unused+Staff+Cafeteria+is+one+of+two+locations+proposed+for+the+in-house+coffee+shop%2C+which+would+be+installed+for+the+2024-25+school+year.
Jake Pfeiffer
The currently-unused Staff Cafeteria is one of two locations proposed for the in-house coffee shop, which would be installed for the 2024-25 school year.

Ten months after Principal Jackie Thornton first announced plans for an in-house coffee shop at Central, food service provider OrganicLife has outlined two proposals to be completed before the start of the 2024-25 school year.

The originally planned location, Central’s school store, was not included in either proposal because it doesn’t have a water line. Instead, the coffee shop is planned to fill either the Staff Cafeteria or the middle section of the food service lines.

“There are some challenges about [using the Staff Cafeteria], so we just have to talk about the logistics,” Thornton said. “But it already has [a] double sink and water line, and we’re not using the space now, so that probably is going to be the way we go.”

After finalizing a location between the two proposals, OrganicLife will determine a menu based on a student focus group, which is planned to start shortly after spring break.

“I’m anticipating a focus group of students [to] taste test the recipes and see what will ultimately go on the menu based on how students react,” Thornton said.

Those menu options will be restricted by National School Lunch regulations, which limit the calorie count of drinks and other school foods, alongside sugar content and other regulations. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, beverages must not exceed 60 calories or 12 fluid oz. based on USDA regulations, while yogurt or ice-based fruit smoothies cannot contain added sugars based on Illinois nutritional standards.

“We’ll have refreshers, but there won’t be [something like Starbucks’] Strawberry Acai refresher [because] it can’t have sugar,” Thornton said. “National School Lunch regulations [will have] an impact on what we are able to offer for sure.”

Unlike Naperville North’s student-run Half Caf, OrganicLife will be in complete control of hiring and staffing for the coffee shop, although there are plans to work with Central’s special education program to offer vocational opportunities.

“There’s willingness and eagerness to make sure that our students who need a vocational opportunity at Naperville Central have it, we just haven’t gotten to the finish line on that,” Thornton said. “They’re going to have a menu for teachers [to] place an order in advance [where] our vocational students could [deliver] lunches to department offices.”

According to Thornton, progress on the coffee shop has accelerated since a Central Times editorial in January critiqued OrganicLife’s responsiveness to communications. 

“OrganicLife and the district have met to discuss the coffee shop and we are awaiting further information from the high school at this time,” Erica Arlinsky, Corporate Executive Vice President of OrganicLife, wrote in an email to the Central Times.

Since publication of the January editorial, Thornton and OrganicLife have had two meetings to discuss the proposals.

“I appreciate the collaboration that we’ve had [with OrganicLife] since the Central Times article got published,” Thornton said. “That seemed like it kind of accelerated the interest on both sides, so I’ve been appreciative of their willingness to work with us on this.”

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About the Contributors
C.J. Getting
C.J. Getting, News Editor
C.J. is a junior entering his third year on Staff for the Central Times. He’s always loved writing news, and is excited to work as the News Editor this year. When he’s not writing for CT, C.J. can be found captaining the Debate Team or helping out SAC or JSA. He also desperately needs to detox from volunteering. After graduation, C.J. hopes to major in Political Science and spend too much money on Law School someday.
Jake Pfeiffer
Jake Pfeiffer, Editor-in-Chief
Jake Pfeiffer is a senior, entering his third year on the Central Times staff, this time as Editor-in-Chief. Jake joined CT as a sophomore because he wanted to write news, but since then he has grown to love just about every element of journalism. While it is rare to see Jake anywhere other than the CT office, occasionally you can find him captaining Central’s debate team, watching baseball, listening to a seemingly endless amount of podcasts or drowning in college applications.
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