The close proximity of Milpas to Santa Barbara High School makes it a popular destination for lunch among Santa Barbara High School students. At first glance, it may appear that the benefit of so many local restaurants is only as surface level as breakfast, lunch, or snack locations for students. In reality, local restaurants and SBHS students are deeply interconnected.
The relationships formed between local businesses and SBHS students is beneficial to both the students and the businesses they go to for lunch. According to Education World’s article, “School Business Partnerships That Work: Success Stories From Schools of All Sizes,” schools and businesses can benefit each other in “a wide range of ways … schools and businesses have combined forces to benefit students, teachers, and entire communities.” This quote is true to the relationship between SBHS and our local restaurants for a variety of reasons. Getting food off campus and having restaurants so accessible gives students a break from the hectic school atmosphere, and the restaurants on Milpas have an advantage due to the increase in business that comes from so many student customers.While these benefits are important, one of the most significant parts of the culture created between SBHS students and local businesses are the relationships formed that connect each group to the local community.
Many of the advantages that local businesses obtain from being near the high school are easy to speculate on; an increase of business and an assurance of student clientele during lunch time. However, the most accurate information on this comes from the local businesses themselves. I spoke to Kenneth, an employee at the popular lunch destination on Milpas, Dave’s Dogs. According to Kenneth, Dave’s Dogs sees about 30 to 40 SBHS students for lunch on any given day, and the relationship between the restaurant and students is a positive one. Kenneth said, “I have like multiple kids that I would recognize and already know their order and we can just get it out pretty quickly … The one thing that does stand out is … how organized they are … also how polite they are too. They’ll pick up the trash, stuff like that, and I think that stands out a lot.” The gratitude that local businesses have for SBHS students as well as the positive relationships that they have formed are apparent in the praise that comes from the employees. While businesses are grateful to SBHS students, the relationship is mutually beneficial.
I spoke to Charley Raymond, a sophomore at SBHS, about her experiences going off campus for lunch. Raymond typically goes to Dave’s Dogs for lunch, and described the benefits she feels eating lunch outside of school. Raymond said, “Most of my money goes to this because I genuinely feel like … It’s just nice to sit and eat your food with friends. Also, [it’s] a nice environment. I feel because it’s lively, everyone just gets packed in there … I feel like it gives me energy, it makes me happier, taking a step back from school.” Others also share this view and feel that the chance they have had to go off campus for lunch has made their overall high school experience better. Luna Kirsch, a senior at SBHS, goes to Sprouts for lunch every day and has high praise for the store and its employees. According to Kirsch, “It’s funny actually, […] we’ve built relations with the people working there, Delma in particular. She won Employee of the Month, so she was telling us the other day […] So it’s really cool, we’ve built friendships with some of the people there […] An individual experience that really stands out to me at Sprouts is getting to see Delma basically everyday. Like I said before, me and my friends have built like a cute little friendship with her and we love catching up with her and hearing about her day and chatting whenever we go get our sandwiches.” Both Raymond and Kirsch said that going to these local businesses for lunch during the school day is something that they look forward to everyday. Hearing from SBHS students and the businesses they go to for lunch allows for a clear picture of the relationship between both; a relationship that has created many positive experiences for the two.
The relationship between SBHS students and local businesses on Milpas has created constructive experiences for all. For students, the advantages can be seen in the relief going off campus for lunch brings, the friendships they build with the businesses, and the overall positive environment these restaurants have. For restaurants on Milpas, SBHS students bring an increase of business and a strong tie to the local community. Overall, the location of SBHS brings many positive experiences and opportunities for students and local businesses alike.
Image Credit Mary Moses