Waffles or pancakes?

Students at St. Edmond mix it up on Monday by sitting with students they otherwise wouldn’t

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Mike Szalat, a history teacher at St. Edmond Catholic School, left, marks the hand of Grace Viaene, 18, a senior during Mix It Up Monday at the school. Students receive a number and must sit at the table with the same number.

Andrew Elbert, 15, a freshman at St. Edmond Catholic School, was sitting alone at a table in the school’s cafeteria Monday afternoon.

But not for long.

Riley Mayer, 17, a senior, soon joined him for lunch.

She was assigned the number 5, the same number given to Elbert.

Every Monday, Mike Szalat, a history teacher at the school, writes a number using a washable marker on all of the students’ hands.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Brandon Earls, 18, a senior at St. Edmond Catholic School, left, sits with Riley Mayer, 17, also a senior, during lunch at the school Monday afternoon.

The students must sit at the table with the corresponding number.

“No cheating,” Szalat said.

Jennifer Kinney, director of marketing, said the idea was developed by the school’s student council.

“It’s kind of a reaction to the walkout,” Kinney said. “One father made the comment instead of walking out, walk up to someone and say hi.”

She added, “Even though we are a small school, you may know of someone, but you don’t really know them.”

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson
Riley Mayer, 17, a senior at St. Edmond Catholic School, left, visits with her friend, Jillian Cosgrove, 17, a junior during Mix It Up Monday at the school.

Mayer arrived to table No. 5 with a smile.

“Hi Andrew,” she said.

She had met him before.

“We have a class together,” Mayer said.

But she said the two usually don’t sit together.

“This is our third week doing this,” Elbert said.

Brandon Earls, 18, a senior, joined the table next.

“Hi Brandon,” Mayer said.

There was a brief silence.

“Do you guys like waffles or pancakes better?” Mayer asked.

“Waffles,” Earls said.

Mayer said she liked chocolate chip pancakes the best.

Earls said he preferred a little more crunch for his breakfast food.

“Pancakes are too soft,” he said.

Pancakes were Elbert’s choice.

Next, Mayer asked what everyone has planned for the summer.

Earls said he is going to basic training in Jackson, Mississippi.

“My whole summer is going to be there,” he said.

Earls enlisted in the U.S. Army last year, he said.

“I am going to be a wheeled vehicle mechanic,” Earls said. “It’s a cool program. I am going in as an E3 because I am an Eagle Scout.”

Elbert said he’s looking forward to hanging out with friends.

Mayer said her summer is going to be busy.

“I have two jobs this summer and I’ll be running to get in shape for cross country,” she said.

Mayer is also planning a trip to Italy in August.

“I’ll be really busy,” she said.

The questions Mayer asked came from a list that was placed at each table beforehand.

“It helps get people talking,” Mayer said. “Before it was super awkward without questions.”

Another question on the list was, “What are you doing after school?”

Elbert said he had a doctor’s appointment.

Mayer said she was going to golf practice.

Earls was looking forward to shooting some video for his film studies class.

“We are going to shoot a couple scenes with our friend, Gabe,” he said. “He loves grilled cheese. We are doing an opening scene of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”

He added, “It’s kind of a goofy movie for the class.”

Elbert finished his meal and headed for the gymnasium.

“You can go in the gym after you eat,” Earls said. “Some people want to avoid this, so they eat faster.”

Jillian Cosgrove, 17, a junior, decided to stop by and talk with Mayer.

She said the two have been friends since they met each other in cross country.

“We have a lot of similar interests,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove said she’s been enjoying learning about others during Mix It Up Monday.

“It was fun,” she said. “I got put at the same table as a boy I sat next to last week, so we had a lot to talk about.”

When asked whether pancakes or waffles won the great debate at her table, Cosgrove said, “Definitely pancakes.”