Serving concessions improves high school students’ leadership skills

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    Members of Paschal High School’s Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps participate in activities that teach them how to become better leaders. This year, the cadets received the opportunity to exercise leadership at a unique location: Amon G. Carter Stadium. 

    Since the beginning of the 2012 football season, cadets from Paschal’s Army JROTC program have been operating some of the concession stands at the stadium during home games. 

    The money that the cadets make while working will help pay for their end of the year cadet military ball, said Cadet Battalion Commander Caitlin Cook. Any cadet that wants to attend the ball can work at the concession stand.

    According to JROTC instructor Terry Leboeuf, the battalion received a contract from Sodexo to operate two pretzel stands and one party deck stand near the student section during every home game and during the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in December.

    Retired Army Lt. Col. Leboeuf said he “jumped at the chance” to work on campus.

    “It’s a great team building exercise because you’re either serving someone or doing something all the time,” he said.

    On a typical Saturday, the cadets show up at least three hours before every game. They clean their concession booth and warm up the food that they serve, which includes hot dogs, pretzels, nachos and candy. The cadets start selling the concessions once people begin filling into the stadium.

    “It can get pretty hectic at halftime,” senior and Cadet Battalion Cmrd. Caitlin Cook said. 

    At Saturday’s game against Texas Tech, 56 cadets worked in the concession stands. That is typical for most games, Leboeuf said.

    Some of those cadets said that they relish the opportunity to work on campus and said their experiences working at the concession stand have improved their leadership skills. 

    “It’s a good experience, and we all have a fun time working. It’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding. It helps our leadership skills because it teaches us how to officiate,” junior and Cadet Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Ximena Adame said.

    Sophomore Cadet Sgt. Stephanie Martinez said working at the concession stand teaches [the students] a lot of responsibility.

    The cadets also said they are more likely to want to attend the university in the future as a result of their work experience in the stadium. 

    “A good number of us want to go to TCU because we’ve had such a unique experience here,” Cook said.

    Martinez said she already wanted to come to the university because her brother also attends TCU, but she became more interested the idea after working at the concession stands.

    Leboeuf said his intention all along was to get the cadets more interested in college and the experiences that it can bring.

    “It’s another chance for kids to see what a college campus is like. It’s the environment I want these kids in,” Leboeuf said.