Arrowhead High School seniors Brianna Meyer and Livi Pitzo contributed the following article to the Lake Country Publications to be published in the Living Lake Country Sunday February 17th edition:
Arrowhead Opens a Student Union
|Students enjoy some free|
time playing a game of foosball
Earlier this year, Arrowhead South Campus added a new program to their lunchroom: the Arrowhead Student Union, more commonly known as The U. In The U, eligible students can buy snacks, play games, or study during free periods. During every study hall up to 18 students with a GPA of 3.3 or higher are eligible to come to the U. There, they can buy snacks like coffee, hot chocolate, sparkling ice, or fresh baked cookies. Students also have the opportunity to play games like ping pong, foosball, and bag toss. The U is meant to provide students with a fun and relaxing environment that they can’t get in regular study hall, said teacher supervisor Ann Krueger. “I like to come to the “U” because you can socialize with your friends and have a good time,” said Arrowhead sophomore Mike Tanke.
|Students use employment &|
communication skills in running
the school business
The U started as a way for students with special needs, particularly those with autism, to learn employment and communication skills. By running The U, students learn skills such as customer service, handling money, advertising, maintenance of business equipment, and pricing items to make a profit.
|Students are responsible for|
all aspects of running the business
Through the games, the students learn social and communication skills by interacting with other Arrowhead students.
“The interaction of students provides an opportunity to learn leisure skills in a school setting,” said Krueger. “I’ve seen many schools with cafes, but we found that most don’t have the aspect of the games.”
Krueger said the games provide an important collaboration between students and individuals on and off the autism spectrum.
|Students earning a 3.3 GPA or higher|
are provided the opportunity to
use "The U" during free periods
“I like to go to the U to hang out with friends without having to be quiet in the study hall room,” said Arrowhead sophomore Hannah Frankowski. “Plus, they have great food and a foosball table.”
Allowing the students to run the business side of The U exposes them to the skills they will need in the community. By practicing the skills under supervision, the students will be more prepared to use them later in a job setting.
“The students are on all different levels of skills,” said Krueger.
|AHS Staff member Scott Asher works|
with a student assembling a game
Since its beginning, The U has been a totally self-sufficient business and has not had to borrow any money from the school. This allows them to work on their own calendar and return the money made immediately back to the business.
“After four months, we have broke even, which is pretty incredible,” said Krueger.
Krueger said once The U starts making more money, they would like to give it back to the students. They want to spend the money on things like speakers and mentors, which can help the students develop into skilled young adults. It can also be put towards the cost of getting students into vocational jobs.
|Students are responsible for financial|
management of "The U"
The U provides a learning experience not only for students with autism, but also other students as well. Students have the opportunity to earn independent study credits by working at The U. By accepting cash and not lunch accounts, The U also teaches students how to be conscientious about spending and managing their money.
The U is open and staffed hours one through four and seven through ten. It is located in the east corner of the South Campus lunchroom and welcomes eligible freshmen and sophomores to come down and check it out.
As freshman Mitchell Pralle says: “The U has everything--food, drinks, and fun. It makes me want to keep my GPA up.”
|Students using "The U" to|
study during a free period
|Students enjoying a game of|
|Students take a break to|
compete in a shooting
|"The U" is a popular stop for students|
|The student run business provides a|
great opportunity, under staff supervision
to learn employability skills