‘Tiger Cafe’ debuts in the cafeteria

Madelyn Shapiro

With its bright orange chairs and brown tables, the brand new Tiger Cafe doesn’t exactly ‘fit in’ with the rest of the cafeteria, let alone Wilson as a whole. But that was the exact intention of 12th Grade Assistant Principal Gregory Bargeman when he came up with the idea.  

“We’re trying to make spaces where students feel like the school belongs to them,” Bargeman said. The Tiger Cafe, which features a foosball table, bar height tables, and lounge chairs, attempts to accomplish that goal by creating a comfortable space for seniors to relax or do work during free periods and lunch.

“It’s been really nice,” senior Justin Upshaw said. “They just put in a foosball table, we have a TV, and some people have been playing music.” Upshaw, along with several other seniors, also noted that it was good to have a set place to go in the cafeteria during lunch. “Since there’s a lot of freshmen, you’re sure that you have your spot to eat,” senior Morgan May explained.

The idea of the cafe was first introduced to the class of 2019 during last spring’s grade-level assembly, and construction began after the PTSO agreed to provide funding. The Tiger Cafe was created to address the fact that seniors who have free periods in the middle of their days don’t have a set place to go.

Another goal of the Tiger Cafe is to establish new school traditions. “[The Cafe] will become something that will be passed down each year, so that seniors have something to look forward to,” Bargeman said. This goal will also be accomplished through the creation of Senior Avenue, which encompasses the hallway behind the atrium. During the week before homecoming, Bargeman plans to block off the hallway so that only seniors can come through, and to run activities such as wall decorating and a ‘block party’ with food.

In addition to functioning as a senior lounge, activities like open mic or poetry readings can be held there on the stage. It could serve as a space for college admissions officers to come to talk to seniors, or as an after-school meeting place for clubs and activities. “We’re trying to make the space as flexible as possible,” Bargeman explained.

To preserve the Tiger Cafe for years to come, there will be a rotation of faculty and staff members during the school day to make sure that students are treating the space appropriately. This supervision will also ensure that students who are using the lounge area are not missing class time.

Future plans for the space include a coffee area and adding outlets to the bar height tables.