What happened to Lancer Jacks?

Jacqueline Penn , staff writer

After a long history of serving CHS students, Lancer Jacks closed its doors last year when its advisor, Ms. M, retired. Many of its customers saw it as a unique alternative to the school cafeteria. Matt Gonzalez began working at Lancer Jacks three times a week in his freshman year.

“We sold most of the food that you could get at the cafeteria, but we also sold snack foods and specialized student drinks,” junior Gonzalez said. “The only teacher that was there was Ms. M. Everything else was student run. The registers were run by the students. The stocking and inventory was done by the students. The only time that Ms. M stepped in was when a student was missing or we needed a little extra help.”

Lancer Jacks’ absence may seem trivial to students. However, customers such as Jurney Brown-Smith viewed it as an exciting alternative to the lunch line, as well as the food offered at the cafeteria.

“Why would anyone go and wait in the lunch lines instead of here,” junior Brown-Smith said. “The food was a lot better at Lancer Jacks. I feel bad for underclassmen who don’t have that as an option anymore.”

In exchange for working at Lancer Jacks, students such as Gonzalez were given community service hours. Furthermore, Lancer Jacks gave students an opportunity to gain experience working in retail before holding a job out in the real world. Since Ms. M’s retirement, there have not been any plans to bring Lancer Jacks back; perhaps a different teacher could oversee the program. With the absence of Lancer Jacks, Gonzalez feels as if CHS has lost part of its culture.

“Something feels different about Carlsbad now that [Lancer Jacks] is gone,” Gonzalez said. “A little piece of it is missing, just gone.”

Gonzalez became interested in working at Lancer Jacks after participating in a tour for eighth graders interested in coming to Carlsbad. Since his first day at Lancer Jacks, Gonzalez believes he has gotten much more out of working there than community service hours or experience in the workplace. Most of all, Gonzalez made many long-lasting friendships.

“I think working there was a special thing because we had our own little tight knit group, Gonzalez said. “I am still friends with the people I worked in Lancer Jacks with today. It’s really sad to see that go, because it was a staple of this campus.”