Fifth graders shake it up at Stillwater malt shop

- Operating a business can be stressful enough to give anyone grey hair, but Monday night in Stillwater running a restaurant was child's play.

For the last six weeks, fifth graders at Andersen Elementary in Bayport, Minn. have been learning what it takes to run a real business, Leo's Grill & Malt Shop, in downtown Stillwater.

“I really like helping people out and I wanted to experience this by myself and see how it works," said Isabelle Kargel, a fifth grader.

The students created posters, menus and uniforms. For two nights only, they are doing everything from waiting tables and using the cash register to - the most coveted job making malts.

“I really like math, so I kind of like the money part of it,” said Isabelle. “I think the serving is kind of fun.”

“It builds this ability for them to work together,” said Roxy Humphrey, their fifth grade teacher. “Feel success together and then we'll see that in our classroom for the rest of the school year.”

Teachers say the experience helps set the table for the students to get jobs as they get older. In fact, the malt shop owner, Cory Buettner, has no reservations about hiring some of his temporary employees on a more permanent basis in a few years.

“This is our 10th year and we've had kids who worked the program in fifth grade and they'll come back and on their resume they say I used to work here in fifth grade,” said Buettner.

For many, working in the malt shop is an experience that's hard to shake.

“It's just other teachers don't think fifth graders can do this and our teachers are proud of us that we are able to do this,” said Isabelle.

The class is donating a portion of the tips they made Monday night to the Red Cross hurricane relief and cancer research. The students will be working again on Tuesday night.

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