Willow Lane 4th Graders Take Over Donatelli’s

On May 4th, the 4th graders of Mrs. Anderson’s Willow Lane Elementary School class took over Donatelli’s Family Restaurant. From the front of the house to the back the restaurant was filled with ambitious young people serving family, friends and Donatelli’s loyal customers…

On May 4th, the 4th graders of Mrs. Anderson’s Willow Lane Elementary School class took over Donatelli’s Family Restaurant. From the front of the house to the back the restaurant was filled with ambitious young people serving family, friends and Donatelli’s loyal customers.

Beginning at the front, youngsters like Alex and Kayla greeted guests and showed them to their booths and tables. Meanwhile Taleeya, Anthony and Sydney waited tables and delivered food while several students worked the kitchen preparing food.

While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, it is actually the well choreographed brain child of Mrs.Leigh Anderson a long time White Bear area teacher. The process starts with Mrs. Anderson teaching the children the ins and outs of interviewing for a job including writing resumes, scheduling interviews and maintaining eye contact with the interviewer — who in this course is Trish Appleby. Trish takes the time each year out of her busy days of running Donatelli’s to personally interview each of the students before giving them a job for the day.

Once on-site for the day, Donatelli’s brings in a larger than usual staff in order to make sure that every student is shadowed by a staff member. However, the kids are the front line. From taking the orders and running them to the kitchen to preparing and delivering the food, the students literally are involved in every aspect of running the restaurant.

It’s obvious from the look on customers faces that it is bit surprising to see these little ones everywhere when they come in. But the surprise quickly turns to amusement once these smiling faces, brimming with confidence show up to take their orders.

At the end of the day, Donatelli’s prepares a special meal for all the students and Mrs. Anderson, then divvies up all the tips, splits them in half and gives the students their share which they donated to the Children’s Cancer Society.

This is the fourth year that Mrs. Anderson and Donatelli’s have teamed up to offer this opportunity to Mrs. Anderson’s students. Both ladies are committed to continuing the program into the foreseeable future and with added interest from the White Bear School District may consider expanding the program even further.

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*Last dine-in party seated at 9:55pm. Last order taken for take-out and delivery at 9:45pm.