OZARK, Mo. — Second graders in the Ozark School District have restaurant work experience to add to their resumes after their business opened its doors on Tuesday (4/26/22).

Students from Ozark’s East Elementary learn about spending, loans, restaurant management and goods and services by setting up and running their own restaurants. Each second-grade class had its own restaurant with its own unique theme.

“This is a great culminating activity that ties it all together and makes it relatable and enjoyable and, hopefully, very memorable for these kids,” said Stacy Yerby, a teacher at East Elementary.

Kids fill out an application and are interviewed for the different positions. Customers get to enjoy the hand-drawn menus, customer service and a classy lunch of chips, hot dogs, cookies and soda.

“My favorite part is just seeing my mom and dad and seating them because it’s really fun to see your parents and talk to them at your school,” said Cora, a hostess with the restaurant themed with the laugh-a-lot emoji.

Yerby said it’s good to see parents, government officials, and police officers in person and enjoying themselves at the restaurant run by second graders. This is the first year the event has been opened since the COVID pandemic began.

“Being able to serve them and communicate to them is just a joy that we haven’t had for a long time, it’s been really really missed,” said Yerby.

The gym was filled with tables, members of the community, and kids busily taking orders, carrying plates of food and taking time to dance around and have plenty of fun.

“It’s really fun just to do a restaurant because people don’t believe that kids can run a restaurant but they can,” said Cora.

“I was very nervous after being off for two years,” said Yerby. “We have new teachers on our team that have never done it before. But it all came together beautifully.”

Though the event has wrapped up for this year, there is sure to be another second-grader restaurant in the future.