The Boardman High School Sweetheart Cafe is open for business this week as dance line members staff the tables and provide lunch to an average of 60-plus band members following the morning practice.
The Sweetheart Cafe is in its fifth year at the high school. It was formed not only to provide a quick lunch to the band and flag line members, but is used as a key fundraiser for the dance line.
"We use the proceeds to purchase costumes for the special features," said dance line advisor Jamie Cordon from Jamie's Dance Force in Boardman.
Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Boardman Sweethearts dance line members, in front: juniors Alexis Narry and Victoria Valko and standing: senior Alyssa Stiner, sophomore Liana Pregi, and junior Emily Auth prepare to serve some lunch to the Boardman band after their break from practice at noon. The Sweetheart Cafe in BHS is one of the main fundraisers that helps provide costumes for the dance line. Missing is the sixth member of the dance line, sophomore Amanda Joerndt.
In prior years, the dance line depended on car washes to raise the funds for their costumes. While that did bring in funding, the dance line was cutting the budget close. Five years ago, the cafe was started and has been a major help in bringing in the needed funds to make the Boardman Sweethearts look their best on game day.
"We still do the car washes and help staff the concessions at the Covelli Center," said Cordon, "but the cafe is our [big money raiser]."
The cafe is also supported by Boardman businesses. According to volunteer mom Mary Valko, several pizza and sandwich shops contribute by providing pizza and pepperoni rolls each day. Grocery stores chip in with gift cards and produce like the crate of apples donated from Whitehouse Fruit Farm in Canfield.
"This year, we got a donation of $100 from Valley Care Health Systems to buy food," she said.
While some of the 190 band members may choose to go home to eat, an average of around 60 stay at the school and have lunch on the lawn after purchasing food from the cafe.
"They can buy a meal or just a snack," Valko said.
Valko serves as this year's "captain mom" because her daughter Victoria is the dance line captain. Each year a different mom gets the honor.
Prior to working the Sweetheart Cafe, the dance line girls get in their own practice in the hallways at BHS. They will join the band when it starts working on the feature numbers, and then they will head to band camp towards the end of the month to continue to synchronize their dances with the band numbers.