Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pine Grove kindergartners get inside look at Publix

Pine Grove kindergartener Samantha Farias, 6, watches as Glen Lakes Publix bakery manager Kim Velez decorates a cake.

PAULETTE LASH RITCHIE | Special to the Times

Pine Grove kindergartener Samantha Farias, 6, watches as Glen Lakes Publix bakery manager Kim Velez decorates a cake.

WEEKI WACHEE — Ja'Mariyah Henry, 6, needed a step stool to reach the scanner at the Glen Lakes Publix store so she could swipe her items and print her receipt under the watchful eye of Publix cashier Tracie Vest.

All of Ja'Mariyah's classmates had a chance to be cashiers. And they were just getting started with their investigation into the supermarket's inner workings.

Ja'Mariyah visited the store with Pine Grove Elementary School kindergarteners and their teachers. One of those teachers, Hanora Cassels, said they took the children "so they can learn about community helpers. This way they get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run this business."

Cassels was quick to show her appreciation to the store.

"Publix does a good job of taking care of us," she said.

From the register, the children moved over to the bakery, where department manager Kim Velez demonstrated how to decorate a cake. The finishing touch was the addition of "Mrs. Cassels" to the cake, which Velez did with the names of all of the visiting teachers. At the end of the tour, the cakes went back to the school.

On to the deli, where the children's first sight was an oven full of roasting, rotating, sizzling chickens, which was greeted with a resounding chorus of "oooh." The children were soon distracted to focus on deli clerk D.J. Lane, who was working the popcorn-making machine.

As the popped kernels exploded out of the machine, the children screamed in appreciation. (Kindergarteners are very vocal.) A bag of popcorn was sent home with each child, and the children finished at the deli munching on slices of cheese.

Next up: produce. Here the children watched produce clerk JoAnn Mills take a pineapple, which had its top and bottom lopped off, and place it under a machine, which dropped over and around the fruit, cutting loose the peel in one fell swoop. All Mills had to do was open the peel like a book and discard it. Each child received a chunk of sweet pineapple and a walk through the produce cooler.

In the seafood department, seafood specialist Marc Deese was waiting with a gutted salmon on a table. He sneaked in a science lesson, pointing out the fins, tail, teeth and gills. He explained how gills work, which motivated another chorus from the children.

In the meat department, assistant meat manager Michael Schafer had steaks and talked to the children about the various ways to cook meat. Meat cutter Heather Henson demonstrated how she grinds meat into hamburger, and then meat wrapper Sue Rogers packaged it and priced it.

The children moved from meat to the stockroom to watch assistant grocery manager Johnny Martens crush cardboard boxes. Then Martens took them into the cooler that houses milk, eggs and other perishables. It was 40 degrees in there, a Florida winter.

Next, Martens led them into the freezer to see the ice cream, pizzas and the rest of the frozen food. It was minus-10 degrees, a Wisconsin winter. The children loved it.

The children defrosted as they returned to the front of the store to receive goodie bags that included their popcorn sample and prepared to leave.

Although the cooler and freezer were popular parts of this outing, there were other favorites.

"My favorite part (was) the popcorn popper," said Samantha Farias, 6.

"My favorite part was the cake," Mikaela Napier, 5, said.

Chestin Collins, 6, agreed with both of them. He liked "the popcorn, because I love popcorn and I eat popcorn every day, and my other favorite part was the cake, 'cause it looked so good."

Pine Grove kindergartners get inside look at Publix 03/16/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:09pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 24-year-old man charged with murder in shooting at Andrea Cove Motel

    LARGO — Pinellas sheriff's officers arrested a 24-year-old transient man Saturday in connection with a homicide at the Andrea Cove Motel in unincorporated Largo.

  2. Photo gallery: Calvary Christian rolls to state title

    Blogs

    View a gallery of images from Calvary Christian's defeat of Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers for the Class 4A title.

    Calvary Christian players circle up on the field before the FHSAA class 4A baseball championship against Pensacola Catholic on Friday May 27, 2017 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Fla. Calvary scored 6 runs in the first inning, and had 7 hits.
  3. Two girls found safe after being reported missing in New Port Richey

    UPDATE: Both girls were found safe Saturday night, police said.

  4. IT failure blamed for British Airways cancellations (w/video)

    Airlines

    LONDON — British Airways canceled all flights from London's Heathrow and Gatwick airports on Saturday as a global IT failure upended the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K. holiday weekend.

    Passengers wait at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure Saturday at London''s Gatwick Airport. [Associated Press]
  5. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.